Jul 16, 2019
Marc Klaas of KlaasKids wants you to know that there is no time to lose when a child disappears and the more information you have in-hand, the quicker the response time will be. After his 12-year-old daughter, Polly, was kidnapped and murdered, his mission is simple: to stop crimes against children.
It was 1993 and the internet was still relatively new but Marc’s connection with the right person enabled them to post her photo online. She would be the first missing child in history to be posted online. He would also spend a lot of his money and time mailing her picture to homeless shelters, hospitals, etc. because social media wasn’t yet a thing back then.
Print-A-Thon, Family Education & Community Involvement
From this tragic experience, he and his wife, Violet, created KlaasKids and the Print-A-Thon child safety events, where they teach and preach “A mile a minute...that’s how fast your child can disappear.” Completely free of charge, the organization provides DNA collection kits and fingerprinting for all children older than three months, takes photographs and educates children and families on how to avoid kidnappings in a non-fearful, empowering way. By the way, none of this information is stored in a database or on drives, which is a decision they made very intentionally. Instead, you’ll receive the only copy of your child’s Bio-Doc on paper which is accessible right at your fingertips should something happen.
Marc’s Top Safety Tips to Prevent Missing Children
- ALWAYS tell your parents where you’re going to be.
- Don’t go anywhere ALONE as it makes you more vulnerable. Use the buddy system.
- TRUST your gut feelings. If something feels wrong, put distance between yourself and whatever is making you feel bad.
- DO talk to strangers for assistance if you find yourself in a vulnerable or compromising situation. Seek out other moms, first responders, older kids and even dads. While men are usually the problem in a dangerous situation, the vast majority are safe and willing to help.
- Carry a CELL PHONE, even if it’s a limited use version. This gives parents 24/7 connection with their children and all cell phones are now GPS COMPLIANT! With a family tracking plan and so long as the phone is on and with the child, you can see where they are and how fast they’re driving, for example, in a kidnapping.
- NEVER give out identifying information online (such as your home address, where you go to school or photographs) and NEVER meet someone from the internet in person. Your parents will need to monitor all of your online activity and especially your social media accounts. This is for your safety! That being said, ALWAYS let your parents know if you suspect something is up, are getting belligerent or threatening messages or ANYTHING else seems off.
Marc and Violet have been helping families for 25 years and more than one million kids have been printed, photographed and educated without ever charging a family or databasing anything! Marc says, “KlaasKids has been the saving grace of my life. It enabled me to put my life back together. Violet and I always wanted to give meaning to Polly’s death and are proud of this legacy in her name.” Their website is a wonderful source of information and we encourage you to check it out.