funding this project out of our own pockets. But we are grateful for the small donations that we’ve received go towards the trainings, printing flyers, assisting families in locating resources for counseling, etc. Families come to us needing so much.
With all of your professional, emotional and monetary investments, how has working with the foundation impacted your personal lives?
Natalie: As a mother of teenagers, I can definitely say that I have become more observant. I watch more. I can quickly spot a child that has gotten away from his parent. I can honestly say that I have even become a bit paranoid, which annoys my kids, because I am always calling and asking “where are you”? The stories do that to you. I don’t speak to the families that often, I let Derrica handle that, but when I do I am in tears. I have to constantly pull myself back, realizing that I have to be professional and that these families don’t call us to hear us cry, but the stories are so heart-wrenching.
Derrica: I’ve been in law enforcement for ten years and it helps me to pull it together. I’m a mother, too. I have a two year old and an eight year old, and I have always been very cautious. But it can still be very heartbreaking.
What is your vision of the foundation's future?
Derrica: We would like to have a central headquarters and satellite offices set up in other states. It’s so important for families to actually have a place to turn to when they need help. We want to be a clearinghouse in every state, sort of like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. We want to have those call centers in place. We are a national organization. We want to travel and have a national training and campaign tour.
Natalie: We want to continue to build on the platform that we have already begun to build on. We have so much mdore work to do and we realize that we can only do this work with help and participation from our community. We want community members to become more informed about those who have gone missing and become more active in the search to find them. That’s our greatest goal.
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