CRESTVIEW — A Crestview woman was among more than 100 men, women and children who participated in the Advocates United for Humanity's Frank P. Mills Cyber-Walk Against Child Abuse April 29 nationwide. But that's just one part of her journey against child abuse.

Lee Roberts of Crestview, an AUH co-founder, her service dog, Otis, and 21 local participants walked from the Neal Cobb Villa at Pandora and Kennedy Drives to the Casbah Coffee House.

Each participant documented their journey with photographs and short videos that were later posted on the grassroots organization's website. Walkers hailed from France, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania.

CIRCLE OF TRUST

Last September, Advocates United for Humanity founders Donna Kshir and Roberts received an unexpected phone call from Magisterial District Judge Frank P. Mills of Renovo, Pennsylvania. Mills had great concern about the number of child abuse incidents on the rise in Clinton County, Michigan.

Kshir told Mills about her 2014 experience when she flew to Michigan to attend the Port Huron March against Child Abuse. She spoke of Damian Sutton, 2, of Michigan, who died from brain damage after an alleged beating at the hands of his mother's boyfriend. After hearing Damian's story, Mills made it his mission to tackle child abuse head on.

Over the next few months, Mills partnered with Kshir and Roberts to create the Circle of Trust Campaign. The goal is to help parents identify whom their child sees as trustworthy.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

Roberts encourages parents to "look for signs of abuse that include grooming behavior, strange interactions with other adults and children, changes in your child's behavior and to always ask questions. 

"The best gifts you can give your child are open communication and knowledge," she said.

Mills donated $500 to get the Circle of Trust Campaign off the ground and will continue to be a campaign contributor. He also participated in the April 29 walk, which took place in 200 cities.

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