Baltimore, MD – Kenneth Smith, founder of Race Against Abuse of Children Everywhere (RAACE), has been named an Innovator of the Year by The Daily Record and will be honored in a ceremony on October 2, 2013 at the American Visionary Art Museum. The Innovator of the Year award highlights the men and women who have created new products, services or programs that have improved their fields.
Smith remarks, “To be recognized as an Innovator of the Year warms my heart, not for the personal accolade, but for what it means for RAACE. It validates our mission and continues bringing this silent epidemic out of the shadows. Education and awareness are the first critical steps toward preventing child sexual abuse. This serves as public call for RAACE Heroes everywhere to use their power of prevention to help us end abuse."
Although child sexual abuse statistics are staggering — 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused by age 18 — the topic is vastly underreported and under discussed, in large part because it makes people uncomfortable. Worse yet, over 90% of offenders are someone the child knows and trusts. RAACE is a nonprofit, charitable organization whose mission is to end this silent epidemic of child sexual abuse locally, nationally and internationally.
Smith and RAACE Executive Director Brad Brickel know that not talking about child abuse won't make it go away. That's why they created the RAACE Hero Program — an innovative means to inspire and motivate parents, families, schools, communities, businesses, healthcare providers, sports teams, faith-based organizations and others to spread its message of prevention. Using events, social media, video, publications and an interactive website, RAACE shows people everywhere how they have the power to prevent abuse.
At family-centric events such as the SHINE FM Summer Concert Series, Lardarius Webb Charity Softball Tournament at Ripken Stadium, and Maryland State BBQ Bash, RAACE uses its two-story "Big Wheel" to catch the attention of event-goers and teach them how they can help prevent child sexual abuse.
At RAACE’s interactive website, people log on to become a RAACE Hero — someone who recognizes that the power to protect children from abuse rests within all of us. A RAACE Hero has the courage to educate his/her circle of trust, taking the tools away from a potential abuser and making the trusted inner circle stronger. What used to be a cumbersome, one-to-one conversation becomes a one-to-many discussion that globally prevents child sexual abuse.
Smith notes, ‘We’re currently building on our Hero Program by creating a Super Hero Program, where businesses and organizations can educate their employees and create a positive and supportive corporate culture. Working together, we have the potential to make a dramatic and positive impact on children, families, communities and the world.”