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1,500-mile walk across Florida aims to raise awareness about child abuse

Posted at 9:11 PM, Apr 10, 2024

NAPLES, Fla. — Advocates with a Florida-based non-profit have begun a 1,500-mile trek across Florida to raise awareness for National Childhood Abuse Prevention Month.

On Wednesday morning, the Lauren's Kids Foundation came through the Naples area and walked 20 miles up to Fort Myers. This is the group's second city along what will be a 1,500-mile walk across the state.

The group is led by Florida Senator Lauren Book, who represents Florida's 35th district. The goal of this walk, she says, is to educate communities and survivors of abuse.

"We started with 60. We had one very brave walker that came until about lunchtime and now we're trucking on with just our core team and myself," said Senator Book.

The non-profit focuses on informing both children and adults about safety and abuse prevention.

"April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and so all month long, we work really hard to bring about awareness. In your community, you have incredible resources, including the Child Advocacy Center of Collier and Project Help," Book told Fox 4. "Just a really incredible group of advocates, and we're walking today to serve this community each and every day to keep its children safe."

Book says her advocacy stems from her personal story.

"I'm a survivor of childhood sexual abuse," she said. "We know that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys may become the victim of child sexual abuse before their 18th birthday."

Despite those statistics, Book believes education and awareness can prevent most abuse. "

"95% of sexual abuse is preventable with education and awareness, and that is what this is all about today," she said.

Throughout their month-long journey, Senator Book expects thousands of advocates, educators, and survivors to join the trek for however long they can.

The "Walk in My Shoes" campaign started in Glades City and will end in Panama City on April 27.

For more information click here.