Wednesday - October 1, 2008
Operation Fuzzy – Offering Comfort After Trauma
Let's face it. Nobody has a good time in the Emergency Room - ever. Patients simply don't show up there because they're having a great day. Sexually abused children, most especially, who turn up in the E.R. need as much comfort as possible during their forensic medical examinations and interviews.
This is why we at the Franks Foundation launched "Operation Fuzzy" on Sept. 11, 2007.
We deliberately chose this date as a small way to honor the countless unsung heroes of Sept. 11, 2001.
The Franks Foundation founded in 2006 - is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting America's kids from sexual predators. As the mother of two daughters who were attacked by Richmond's notorious "Bandanna Bandit" several years ago, I have been searching to find a tangible, effective service for my Foundation to provide for these young victims of crime. Thus, "Operation Fuzzy" was born. This is a program which provides "comfort kits" - stuffed animals, child-themed pillowcases, pads of drawing paper and crayons for children to draw or write on when they arrive in emergency rooms. Because my daughter was born at St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, I decided that this was the place to begin this program.
The contents of these "comfort kits" are the brainchild of Bonnie Price, R.N., lead forensics nurse examiner at St. Mary's Hospital. The stuffed animal allows the child to point to where they have been harmed and in turn allows the forensic nurse examiner to show the child where they will be examined. We feel that it's important that the children be encouraged to pick the animal they want so that they have a little bit of choice in the midst of a situation which is so completely out of their control. The stuffed animal is also something the child can hold onto for comfort during their examination. Drawing pads and crayons allow the child to give a history of their abuse in a non-threatening way. The child-themed pillow cases allow the child to carry these new items all together when they leave the hospital. All of these "comfort kits" are for the children to keep, and need to be brand new so these children don't feel second-hand in any way. The Franks Foundation wants these children to know that they are loved and cared for during what is probably the worst day of their lives.
Costs for each child's "comfort kit" come to $25 apiece. In our first year alone, we reached out to 1,000 children. It's the goal of the Franks Foundation to expand "Operation Fuzzy" to a nationwide program by January 2010. But in order for this to happen, the Franks Foundation is going to need your help. Tax-deductible donations are urgently needed and can be either made on-line at the "Donations" link of our website or sent by snail mail to the Franks Foundation, P.O. Box 11407, Richmond, Virginia 23230. Thank you for helping us help the children!
Executive Director – The Franks Foundation
Mother of Three Amazing Daughters