Phoenix and Lionheart, two representatives from the Great Rivers chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA), provided a quick overview of how BACA works with law enforcement and the community to provide safety and security to kids who’ve experienced the horrors of abuse.
With more than 289 chapters internationally, (seven in Wisconsin), BACA’s intent is to create a safer environment for abused children.
“We exist as a body of Bikers to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live,” said Phoenix. “We stand ready to lend support to our wounded friends by involving them with an established, united organization.”
BACA works in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children. It  desires to send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of our organization, and that we are prepared to lend our physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and our physical presence.
Phoenix and Lionheart, two representatives from the Great Rivers chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA), provided a quick overview of how BACA works with law enforcement and the community to provide safety and security to kids who’ve experienced the horrors of abuse.
With more than 289 chapters internationally, (seven in Wisconsin), BACA’s intent is to create a safer environment for abused children.
“We exist as a body of Bikers to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live,” said Phoenix. “We stand ready to lend support to our wounded friends by involving them with an established, united organization.”
BACA works in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children. It  desires to send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of our organization, and that we are prepared to lend our physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and our physical presence.
BACA stands at the ready to shield these children from further abuse. We do not condone the use of violence or physical force in any manner, however, if circumstances arise such that we are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, we stand ready to be that obstacle.
That support takes the shape of 24/7 body-guard-like presence, if needed. Children who need to testify against their abusers often live in fear and sleeplessness. BACA members will station themselves near the house, on the block and be a protective barrier and presence to keep kids safe.
BACA volunteers are child advocates with big hearts. The organization is completely volunteer-driven, and volunteers undergo NCIC background checks.
The process of working with BACA is initiated by the parent or guardian. From there, a liaison works with the family to determine needs. Details are kept confidential and protectors usually know little about the case unless they attend court with the victim.
The group starts the relationship with the child by visiting them at their home on a crowd of motorcycles (alerting law enforcement first.) The child is given a teddy bear “filled with hugs” and a ride on their choice of motorcycles (weather permitting), then is encouraged to choose their road name, which the organization will affix to the inside of a club vest, to protect the child’s identity and allow the child to wear the vest in public.
“Their club identity is between them and their BACA family,” said Lionheart. “One message is that we are big bad bikers and they are part of our family. Kids are proud to be a part of it.
“Yet, well tell them that if we see them in public, we won’t  approach them, but they can approach us. I’m continually amazed at the kids who approach me when they see my BACA vest.”
Children also receive stickers, a BACA blanket and a photograph of them with the BACA family. It’s all to help the child understand that they are not alone, and they don’t have to live in fear.
Children in the program can call their specificed members day or night when feeling afraid or just to talk.
 
Members also accompany children to court if requested, both to protect and to bear witness.
“We want to be the whisper of hope and a ray of light in their darkness,” said Phoenix. “By our love, loyalty and commitment, we hope to help kids move beyond abuse and enjoy themselves and be kids again. When they get up on that stand, that’s not hiding, that is empowerment. They do all the work. We just show up.”
The Great Rivers chapter of BACA meets the second Sunday of the month at the Hudson YMCA. The public is invited.
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