At MCSC, we count our blessings when it comes to the amazing support network we have. Our families – our volunteers – our Board of Directors – our sponsors. Some days, we step back from our everyday work and look around ourselves, and realize how truly fortunate we are that we have such a community to help serve our families.
And though in most cases, we have opportunities to thank those people in person, there is one amazing network that we only get to see twice a year to thank in person. AMECO is the Association of Missing and Exploited Children’s Organizations, a group of 40 or so not for profits that work collectively to improve and share the best practices and tools we each independently use to help serve our families.
MCSC is a leader in the field of child abduction and recovery, and have many tools to share, but that’s not the reason that we attend. We attend to fill our tank. We attend to meet families, who after going through the process of searching for a missing child, have started their own organizations. We go to meet other people who are passionate about finding missing children, from grassroots community groups to corporate consultants.
The Fall 2012 AMECO conference was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, and myself and Amanda Pick, our Executive Director, were able to attend thanks to the gracious and generous support of AMECO, at no expense to MCSC. As with any first experience, I was uncertain. With such a large group of amazing people, it was hard to forecast how I would be able to contribute.
Thankfully, in just a few short days, my tank was filled. Through conversations with families who continue to search, and hearing the amazing ways organizations across North America are focusing their efforts and their best assets to bring children home, it was inspiring. That to truly serve the families that need us, it is not about the money that we raise but about the partnerships we form and the support we provide the entire community that will truly serve our families successfully. It’s about reaching out with both hands – one to connect with families and the other to connect with all the people and organizations who can support them. It is truly through uniting ourselves as a nation, and as a community, that we can bring hope and success to those who continue to search.
As many of us who have been to a conference can attest, it can be hard to remember every “a ha” moment you experience. Highlights included the presentation from the US National Autism Association (NAA), who provide tools for parents and law enforcement searching for a child with autism who has wandered off. Less than 24 hours later, MCSC was called to assist an Edmonton family in the search for a teenage boy with autism. The tools the NAA provided gave powerful insight and critical steps to help law enforcement. It’s those immediate connections that are so powerful for the work we do. To educate ourselves and push the knowledge of our peers to better serve the families who desperately need our help.
Thank you to AMECO for the opportunity to attend – it was a welcome and much needed blessing!