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Events help raise awareness of bullying, cyberbullying, child abuse

Monique Burr Foundation's Child Safety Matters Program hosts events

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As October begins Saturday, it also starts national bullying prevention month.

The Monique Burr Foundation's Child Safety Matters Program is hosting several events this week and into the month of October to raise awareness of bullying, cyberbullying and all types of child abuse.

News4Jax's Elizabeth Campbell talked to the organization and a parent who says her 8-year-old son has benefited tremendously from the program.

"I asked Felipe, 'What is this?' and he said, 'Mom, that's a safety program we went through at school,' and I said, 'Safety program? What do you mean?' and he said, 'Our teacher talked to us about the safety rules,'" parent Roberta Targino said.

Targino was so impressed with her son that he paid attention when learning about safety. She was also pleased with his school that they got students involved in the Monique Burr Founation's Child Safety Matters Program.

"The Monique Burr Foundation for Children was started in 1997 by local real estate developer Ed Burr after the death of his wife on their 10th wedding anniversary, so kind of a tragic story, but he wanted her legacy to live on," program director Stacey Pendarvis said. "She was a very big community advocate that worked for kids and he didn't want that work to stop."

The foundation focuses on bullying and child abuse prevention and awareness, offering the program at no cost to grades K-6 in schools throughout Florida.

"To know that when they have that shiver, that things are unsafe, and shiver was an expression my son used, that when they feel unsafe it's real and there's things they can do to protect themselves and let other people know they can be safe," Targino said.

The MBF Child Safety program also hosts events each year, including a champions for child safety matters luncheon Wednesday at the University of North Florida at 11:30 a.m. and a real world safety event this Saturday starting at 8, also at UNF.

Targino encourages families to get involved, whether asking a child's school to look into the program or attending an event.

"What really touches me about this program is it gives voice to the kids who are not safe or not heard, and when you plant that seed and let them know the shivers are real and they can do something about it, it's something that is very empowering for them," Targino said.

Tap or click here to learn more about this week's events or how to get the anti-bullying and child abuse program into your child's school, we’ve provided a link to their website on our website News4Jax.com.