2015 Kars4Kids Car, Truck and Bike Show

3rd Annual–Kars4Kids Car, Truck and Bike Show 

This great family event was help on June 5, 2015.  It was originally scheduled for May 23 but because of heavy flooding rains the event was postponed.  Our event Director was Rudy Rodriguez and Matthew Hite.  DJ Mike Megamix (Michael Potter) made his first appearance as the AAYC’s official DJ.  We had quite a few great vendors and a lot of local support at the event.  There were two other local car shows on the same day and a major Car Show in Albuquerque, NM as well but our event was a lot of fun and raise funds for the Amarillo Activity Youth Center.

Also we joined forces with Coffee Memorial Blood Center and did a blood drive at the event were 19 people presented themselves to donate blood.  It’s great to reach out and work with other great non-profits in Amarillo and to help SAVE a life with the gift of blood.

Click these links for more info

Ch4 Coverage myhighplains.com

Pictures from the event

Pictures of the Event from Amarillo Globe News 

You Tube Recap Video

The 2016 Kars4Kids Event will be on June 11, 2016.  Mark your calendars now!

2015 Kars4kids Car, bike and truck Show

2015 Kars4kids Car, bike and truck Show

AAYC Kars4kids Car Show

2015 Kars4Kids Car, truck and Bike Show, hosted by the AAYC. Picture by Matt Hite

2015 Kars4Kiids Car, Truck and Bike Show

2015 Kars4Kids Car, truck and Bike Show, hosted by the AAYC. Picture by Matt Hite

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2015 Karing4kids Child Abuse Prevention Rally and Walk

KARING4KIDS

April 11th 2:00-5:00 PM  816 S Van Buren Amarillo, TX 79101

AAYC Child Safety Initiative

AAYC Child Safety Initiative Take a stand with us against Child Abuse

News coverage:
Interview with Matt Hite
Myhighplains.com Coverage

http://www.myhighplains.com/story/d/story/child-abuse-prevention/19406/Cb7V_H6BfU27cA4b0lD5Ig

Multiple non-profit agencies teamed up today to promote child abuse prevention month at the Amarillo Activity Youth Center.

April is child abuse prevention month and the Amarillo Activity Youth Center held their second annual rally for child abuse prevention today.

13 different non-profit organizations came together with the AAYC to put on this rally for the prevention of child abuse.

These organizations each had a separate booth in the gym at the AAYC where they helped spread awareness.

Matt Hite the Executive Director of AAYC says, “they say one in six females have had some sort of abuse, one of the four. And they say one in ten males have”.

The day began with children dancing to their favorite music, while others were designing banners that would be used later when the group marched down tenth street to spread awareness of how prevalent child abuse is in our country.

Christine Bollinger who’s the Intake Coordinator for Bair Foundation (one of the non-profits helping) says, “it’s wonderful.
This is a great event, there are lots of kids inside there’s music and games and a bounce house and there will be a walk later to promote the prevention of child abuse”.

2015 karing4kids Rally and Walk

AAYC’s 2015 karing4kids Rally and Walk

The group of nearly 2-hundred children and adults then hit the streets with their plan to spread the word about the importance of their cause.

Officials at the rally focused on the four different kinds of child abuse; emotional, physical, sexual, and neglect.

Before interview with Matthew Hite, Executive Director

http://www.onenewspage.com/video/20150407/2730443/Child-Abuse-Prevention-Rally-and-Walk.htm

Event Coverage

http://www.myhighplains.com/story/d/story/child-abuse-prevention/19406/Cb7V_H6BfU27cA4b0lD5Ig

Event details
Child Safety Initiative

Predator 101 By Angie

Hey guys! It’s been a crazy few weeks, but the blog is back and so are some great information and safety tips on online predators! This information is invaluable not only to kiddos, but also to parents as well. As parents, we sometimes feel overwhelmed at the bombardment of sexual content that infiltrates our children’s lives through media outlets. It comes in the form of advertisements and magazines and movies and even in the music they listen to. One place we do have control however, is online. By using a few safety measures and keeping a watchful eye, we as parents can limit the possibility that our children will become online predator victims.

Great Angie. Let’s do this. But, how do we know who is a predator and who isn’t? They should stand out pretty easy right? After all, they are all perverted old men right? Not exactly. Online predators blend into everyday society as any other person. Most predatory pedophiles are white, male, and middle aged right?  Online predators can be any race, age, or shockingly, any gender. They hold any kind of job, even respectful jobs, like doctors and lawyers. However, hope is not lost. They do share some common traits that may help you identify them.

  • They appear trusting at first.
  • Pretend to share interests with targeted victims.
  • Take part in children’s activities.
  • Look for emotionally vulnerable children.
  • May pretend to be someone they are not.
  • May be very good at Internet lingo.
  • Will become more provocative as victim begins to trust.

The dangers of an online predator can extend beyond sexual deviance. Other dangers can include Identity theft, sexual solicitation, pornography or exposure to pornography, and even kidnapping and rape. Identity theft occurs when the predator tries to get personal information from the victim such as social security numbers, addresses, birthdates, and the like. Teach your kids to never give out personal information. Teach them that what goes on the Internet, STAYS on the Internet. Solicitation is usually started in chat rooms or social media sites. After a connection is made, they try to meet the minor for sex. Parents need to use parental controls and keep in mind that 44% of solicitations come from children under 18 years old. By using seemingly harmless information such as school mascot and town or even just metro area, a predator can find a child. Through a social networking page, this information is usually readily available. Once this information is put together, the predator can track the victim and perpetrate heinous crimes such as kidnapping and rape against the victim. I have seen stickers on the back of cars that not only list the soccer club of children, but their names, team names, and jersey numbers as well. Game schedules are listed online. This is a terribly dangerous thing to broadcast. Anyone can find these children and the parents would be none the wiser. Please parents use common sense when protecting your children. Each trip to the mall you take with your children, one person notices them. If your children are older, they have been followed at least once. These are terrifying facts, and my goal is not to scare, but to arm you with knowledge. Knowledge truly is power.

So, now that you will never take a trip to the mall again, you are asking me, “What can I do to protect my children Angie? How do I keep them safe?” First, teach your kids to be aware of the dangers. Teach them to know the signs and characteristics of predators. Second, get involved and stay involved. Dig deep into the online community and know what is happening. Know the red flags and look for them often. Keep computers usage to common areas such as a kitchen table or living room so children are easily monitored. Third, set boundaries. Set time limits, strict friend guidelines, open communications about actions on social sites and maybe a “no deletion” policy. Finally, everything has parental controls nowadays. Use them.

Common Statistics to be aware of:

  • The majority of internet crimes are initiated in chat rooms
  • In 82% of online sex crimes against minors, the offenders used social networking sites to gain access about the victims likes and dislikes.
  • 65% used victim’s social networking sites to gain home and school information about the victim.
  • At least 100 million BOYS and 200 million girls will be sexually victimized before they reach adulthood.
  • 26% of online predators used the victims social networking sites to gain information of the victim’s whereabouts at a specific time.
  • 1 in 7 kids received a sexual solicitation online.
  • 56% of those kids were asked to send in picture and 27% of those pictures were requested to be sexual in nature.
  • 44% of sexual solicitors were under the age of 18.
  • When a solicitor attempted to meet a victim offline in person or via phone call, 73% met their perpetrators online.
  • And finally, the more risky behaviors kids engage in online, the more likely they will be approached or receive an online solicitation.

Parents, please inform your kids of the real risks of online information sharing and who is ok to interact with. This is a real problem and together we can protect our children and bring light to this terrifying problem. We must be vigilant in protecting our children and the biggest thing we can do for them is to stay INVOLVED.

Find safe places like the AAYC for you children to be at night so that they are not left to find something to “get into”
Until next time AAYC!

Trafficking in the US: Bigger than we think!

Random Fact: If you yelled for over 8 and one half years, you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.

Mental Health Fact: 1 in 5 persons suffering from Bipolar disorder
Will complete suicide

Ok guys, it is time for this blog to get serious! I have been hearing in the news a lot lately about human trafficking specifically human sex trafficking. I know, I can hear the groans now, but let’s put this terrifying risk in perspective. Amarillo sits on I-40. This is a major freeway running coast-to-coast, meaning, if you get snatched, you could be halfway out of the state within an hour. Within four hours, you could be in OKC, which not only has I-40 running east and west, but also I-35 which runs north and south. Now that I have your attention, let’s move on.

So, you have heard of this thing called human trafficking but what is it really? You may be asking, “Does it really affect me? Is there anything I can do to protect myself?” I hope to provide some answers to those questions today.

First off, let’s define human sex trafficking. Sex trafficking occurs when people (men, women, and children) are forced to perform sexual acts against their will. Child sex trafficking includes ANY child forced into sexual acts for money against their will. Sex traffickers are looking for vulnerable people who may have been abused and will use violence, threats, lies, control, or even make that person work off money through sex, and other forms of manipulation to keep their victims involved in the sex trade. We will talk about the Domestic Sex Trafficking problem happening right here in the United States as we speak.

STATISTICS

*There are 100,000-300,000 underage girls being sold for sex in America.
*The average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14.
*50,000 woman and children are trafficked into the United States each year.
*1 out of every 3 teens will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of running away from home
*Minor victims were sold an average of 10-15 times a day, 6 days a week.
*1 out of 5 pornographic images is of a child
*The sale of child pornography has become a $3 billion industry.
*Over 100,000 websites offer child pornography.
*55% of Internet child pornography comes from the United States.

You may be thinking, “Ok, well that is all fine and good Angie, but how do I know someone is a victim?”
Here are some warning signs to look for. If you see any of these red flags, tell an adult immediately and have them call 888-373-7888, or you can always call them yourself. These are only some of the signs someone might have.

Red Flags: This person is

Not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
Under 18 and getting paid for sex
Performs sex acts and has a pimp or manager
Unpaid or paid very little, or paid through tips
Works long, excessive, or unusual hours
Not allowed breaks or has unusual restrictions at work
Owes a large amount of money and can’t pay it off
High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations
Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior
Anxious, Depressed, Submissive, Tense, Nervous, or Paranoid
Unusually afraid of law enforcement
Avoids eye contact
Poor physical health
Has multiple Cell Phones

***Please note these are only some of the Red flags a person might exhibit if one is a victim of trafficking.

“Ok, Angie, I Know what trafficking is, I know what signs to look for, but how do I escape someone who might try to kidnap me? How can I stay safe?” These are great questions, and the answers are fairly easy! The best thing to do is to ALWAYS tell someone where you are going. Go in groups! Safety in numbers is not just a cool thing to say, it’s a cool and super safe thing to do! However, if someone does grab your wrist and try to drag you away, simply stay calm and do those giant windmills they have you do in gym class. You know the ones where you swing your arms in giant circles. Do it big and do it strong! A kidnapper will not be able to hold on to your wrist. Then RUN, SCREAM, and TELL! Also, the thumb is the weakest point on a person’s hand when they grab your wrist. Pull your hand quickly and forcefully in the direction of their thumb and they will let go. Go on, practice with Mom and Dad. Then, RUN, SCREAM, and TELL! If someone grabs your backpack, purse, or jacket, drop it. Take them off. Drop that item. It is better to lose a textbook or money than a child who is priceless. Then RUN, SCREAM, and TELL! Don’t be afraid to poke someone in the eye. They can’t drag you away if they can’t see you. Also, guys, if it comes down to survival, kick ‘em where it counts and get out of there. Say it with me,
“RUN, SCREAM, and TELL!”

I hope this blog has been helpful and has in some way given you guys a sense of peace and control. My goal is not to scare you, that is for Matt to do with as scary as he is, but to arm you with knowledge and show you what you can do to protect yourself. You guys enjoy your summer and please, please, BE SAFE OUT THERE!!

Angie

The Talk….

The Talk

by Matthew Hite

Amarillo, Texas

 

Parents, if you have not had the “talk” with your child(ern) its time.  NO not that talk.. The Talk about drinking.  Most children between the ages of 9 and 15 have access or friends that have access to drinks.  Does your child know?  Has your child experimented with drinking already?  Many parents turn the other cheek or pretend it’s not going on with “their kids.”  Don’t fool yourself… Have the talk….

Communicating with teens can be difficult.  It is important to lay a good foundation with your child before they hit the teen years…. and NOT JUST ABOUT DRINKING EITHER….  Your child will be exposed to the outside world, prepare them for it and talk to them before they are put into a situation about it.

Please remember that threats and lectures rarely prevent anything and are usually reactionary in nature.  Be proactive, talk with them and not too them.  Citing laws, rules and regulations will not stop most children.  They need to know these things but that in itself will NOT stop them.  One of the most valuable things you can share as a family is time where you speak openly and honestly with one another.  Maybe at dinner or just before bedtime,  find a time to talk with your kids and to become part of there life or they may not turn to you later when they are encouraged to experiment with things.

Talk to your children about your past drinking and share stories about it.  Be factual and let them know a few things that could happen to them if they do drink.  You need rules that are spelled out clearly.  Share your personal opinions, beliefs and thoughts about drinking and then clearly layout ground rules about drinking.  Work with your child and help them feel good about themselves.  Self esteem is vital so that they can say NO to those that admire later when and if approached.  Be a good parent and work on building a positive family environment so that your kiddo will be willing to talk with you.  Also be a good role model and practice what you preach.  Lastly know where you child is going, when they will be home and who they are will and follow up to make sure they are where they are suppose to be.

It’s a lot of work being a parent and I hope this will help you remember that YOU make a difference in your child’s life and that these tips can be applied to any topic; NOT JUST DRINKING!

Family values have NEVER been so important.  Kids today face a different world than their parents.  Family life is different, family structure is different but YOU can’t use this as an excuse.  Parents and children are spending less and less time together everywhere because of technology, social media, TV, video games and parent’s busy personal life.  YOU have to make TIME!   .

Yes the talk…. every talk…. every day… be a positive influence to your child, don’t just talk, listen!

 

 

Are you a bully? Are you a victim?

It’s been part of society since the beginning of time, bullying.  One person is bigger or more dominate and they take advantage of someone else.

Who is a bully?

The dictionary says to  bully is  to frighten, hurt, or threaten (a smaller or weaker person) : to act like a bully toward (someone): to cause (someone) to do something by making threats or insults or by using force.  (Source Merriam-Webster Dictionary http://www.merriam-webster.com/).  There are many degree’s and levels of bullying.  A few common examples are:  physically hurting/attacking someone, Malicious teasing, spreading hurtful rumors or gossip, cyber bullying, harassment of sorts, ganging up on someone or isolating someone and intimidating them.  Sending malicious or threatening text, emails, instant messages, blogs, social media and other electronic media is also bullying.

Are you a bully?  Are you hurting, threatening someone or using your strength, size or social status in a mean way? Chances are you are a bully.  It takes a lot of maturity to step back and admit that you are a bully!  The first step to correcting your behavior is to admit that you are a bully.

If bullies would just stop and put themselves in the other person’s shoes and really think about how that would make them feel. if you are a bully you may need to seek guidance from a trusted adult, school official or professional.  There is NOTHING wrong with asking for help to stop a cycle of bullying for the victim or the bully.

School and clubs

Bullying happens in all schools, it’s almost not avoidable.  If you or your child is being bullied, chances are others are as well.  many schools have bullying prevention programs that can help reduce bullying.  It is ALWAYS ok to go to the school’s councilor, coach, trusted adult or family member and talk about any bullying that has occurred.  The person being bullies is NOT at fault,  that person is a victim and needs help!

Adult intervention at school

Parents and adults please don’t be afraid to step up and be the adult in any situation where bullying occurs.  It’s best to keep a writing record documenting the bullying with details, times, dates and whom was there. DO NOT blame the victim, it’s not there fault.  Calling the school and reporting bullying is a great start.  Talk directly to the teacher(s) let them know what you have information on and make them aware of the situation.  Once the teachers are aware of the situation you can expect action to be taken by the school.  Ask the teacher(s) what procedures, rules and actions are in place to help the child.  If this does not help please go to the school’s administration and talk with the child’s assistant principal. The school wants to stop bullying but they can’t without YOUR help, adults.

On-line

On-line many times a bully will hid behind a fake profile, name or account to spread rumors, lies, and false information.   A quick and easy way to help solve this issue is to report and block anyone that you don’t know that sends you a random message or information that appears to be attacking or harming someone else.  Sometimes bully’s think they are trying to “help” others but usually if they are bent on hurting or spreading this type info, they are probably in it for another reason.

Are you being bullied?

If so it is important that you tell someone, a  trusted adult.  Your peers usually cannot help you and that might make it worse.  Get another adult involved.  Don’t be afraid to stand up to the bully in a public place in a non-aggressive posture, Don’t fight them, if if becomes physical get away.  There is NOTHING wrong with walking away from a physical encounter, heck RUN if you need to!  Another strategy to help you is to stay in a group when possible and to always try to have a few friends around.

As a bully it is important NOT to fight back or bully the other person, or find someone to bully them.  I know it’s NOT your fault, they are the one in the wrong.  Keeping it to yourself will not make it go away.  Avoid the bully if possible but don’t skip school or miss other activities because they might be there!

Written by: Matthew Hite, Amarillo, TX

Additional resources:

Stop Bullying
http://www.stopbullying.gov/kids/

Stop Bullying now
http://stopbullyingnow.com/

Stop Bullying Pledge and games
http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/promos/stopbullying/

 

 

On-line Predators

What you should know about On-line Predators

Written by: Matthew Hite; Amarillo, TX

Preface:

In the month of April the AAYC is focusing on Child Abuse prevention.  One of the often forgotten ways a minor is exploited is over the internet, on their phones and other mobile devices.  PLEASE take a few minutes to read this and share this with youth, parents and those that are around children.  PREDATORS BEWARE!

The information age

Today we are in the age of technology.  We spend hours a day viewing and working on technology items.  Whether it’s communicating with friends and family, sharing life events, playing games, watching videos, or even watching TV, YOU are being exposed to the age of technology.  Computer and online exploration opens a world of possibilities for children and can expand their horizons and expose them to different cultures, ways of life, and current events.  They can also be exposed to dangers and inappropriate content/contacts while exploring the internet highway.

There are individuals who attempt to sexually exploit youth through the use of the internet, social media and online services.

Your Child

Many times, children are curious and interested in sexually explicit material.  Some adolescent children may also be attracted to and lured by online offenders close to their age or who have the same interest and activities. Children can be seduced and most likely manipulated by some scary people.

If your child is approached by someone online that they don’t know and there is questionable activity going on YOU as a parent need to step in right away.  Bottom-line is that kids can be tricked with fake accounts, lieing adults and manipulating offenders.

Precautions parents should all take:

Teach your child and communicate with them

Explains what you expect from your child’s on-line use; set limits, explain dangers of the internet.  Let them know that it is NEVER ok to send explicit pictures to ANYONE on the internet or over their phone.   Many parents never discuss these things because they are uncomfortable.  This should be a continuing talk at the dinner table.

Access to accounts

Always maintain access to your child’s accounts.  Take time to check the accounts and see what is being said and done.  Be up-front with your child and let them know that you will be checking and monitoring their account.  Log-in and check their online accounts on a regular basis.  It might be best to do it with your child present so that they don’t feel like you are prying and they know exactly what is going on.

Set-up your own account

One deterrent to these people is to see active adults on-line comments and overseeing the account.  Make positive comments and like your child’s pictures.  Spending a few moments a week on a Social media account can really help and will help you monitor who is liking, comments and involved in your child’s on-line life.

Computer location

Keep computers in a common room or area of the house where the computer screen is visible to others in the household throughout internet sessions.  Disabling the web-cam or taping over the lens unless you use it for positive communications for  time to time can help as well.

Personal Information

Make sure that person information lie address phone, birthdate and other information is not being broadcast on your child’s account.

Mobile Devices

In todays world we face yet more problems,  mobile devices.  I recommend that parents check these devices on a regular basis as well.  Also I recommend that the devices be charged in a central location in the house and not be in the child’s room at night.  Please utilize parental control on your mobile devices and check what your child is viewing on a regular basis.

Prevention

If parents are informed and active it is much less likely that a predator will take interest in your child’s life.  We were all children at one time and as the age of technology evolves we must be more diligent to protect our youth because, now, more than ever children have explicit resources right at their fingertips.

On-line resources

There are thousands of resources on-line to help you learn, identify and report on-line predators.  We all need to watch and be vigilant in stopping inappropriate activities and making the internet a safer place for all.

Most social media sites like Facebook have a large area for online safety and option where you can secure an account and report an any suspicious activities.

AAYC

For more info about the AAYC (Amarillo Activity Youth Center) please visit our Official web-site http://www.amarilloyouth.org.  Follow us on instagram @amarilloyouth. Please like us on FaceBook as well: http://www.facebook.com/373aayc.