Shanonn Hale was almost abducted as a child.
That’s why, in the wake of the murder of 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera, she decided to organize a fundraiser in to raise money for additional abduction prevention programs in the area.
“Hearing her story, it broke my heart,” Hale said. “I couldn’t believe the boldness he had. It was beyond the, ‘Hey little girl, want some candy?’”
The is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Saturday at .
Hale said she originally wanted to raise money for a radKIDS program in the area, but since already was established, she turned her efforts toward the Alpharetta-based Revved Up Kids, which is a 3-hour class focused on how to prevent abductions. Her goal is to reach as many kids as possible.
“I know radKIDS is there, but two people can’t reach everyone,” Hale said. “We want to reach all kids and empower them to take care of themselves. I’d like to bring the classes to every school in Georgia. This needs to be part of the curriculum. These guys are so slick and quick. This should be something we teach our kids, but we don’t know what to say as parents.”
And that’s where Revved Up Kids comes in, teaching parents how to start the conversation. It also uses a video-based training component to teach children ages 6-10 appropriate safety behaviors and self-defense skills that they can use as safety mechanisms.
Allison Neal, one of the co-founders of Revved Up Kids, said Hale contacted her shortly after Jorelys' death and said she felt called to do something to make sure that the young girl wasn't forgotten.
"She felt like training other children to escape or recognize that danger was pretty much her goal," Neal said. "We were so honored that she wanted to do that."
What makes this more amazing to Neal is that Hale lives in Barrow County.
"(That's on) the other side of the world from Canton," Neal said. "She’s completely selflessly (to) take this on. When I say I have great admiration for her, I’m in awe. If she lived in Canton, I would completely understand it. The fact that she lives in Winder and has been called to do this is completely amazing to me."
Revved Up Kids will provide classes in Canton at a break-even cost for the organization. The first classes are scheduled for June 22 and 23.
"We’re excited to be involved, and we’re doing everything we can to be able to train as many people as possible with the money she raises," Neal said.
Hale hopes to raise $3,000 from the event, which would fund Revved Up Kids classes in Canton through the end of the year. So far, more than 100 people have signed up for the run. The public classes will be held at the . Students from , Jorelys' school, will have first shot at the class.
“I’m trying to hold my word and offer to Canton Elementary students first,” Hale said.
“I would love to do this every year,” Hale said. “I would love to have a run and fundraiser to bring the classes to as many people as possible. You’ll never run out of opportunities to reach kids.”