Man walks 80 miles to raise awareness for child abuse
HENDERSON COUNTY, Tenn. — If you see a man with a staff walking in Henderson County, know there is 80 miles of awareness.
That’s how far Brantley Smith is walking with a staff, blue bows and a backpack to bring awareness to child abuse.
“I just believe that our children are our future. That’s it. The only way we’re going to end this is to make more people aware about it,” Smith said.
Thursday morning, Smith pinned a blue bow to his gym and took off to Henderson County Schools.
At each school he presents a blue bow and provides information about Child Abuse Awareness Month.
“The statistics say one in seven at a national average has been abused, and we’re talking about physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. I just told them to serve, find a thing in their community, find passion and serve,” Smith said.
Smith thought of the idea after he and his daughters were asked to perform on the local Dancing with the Stars.
At each school, the principal signs his shoe and staff, and he will auction them off to raise money for the Carl Perkins Center.
“You can do so many fundraisers and auctions, and I said, ‘You know what I’m going to try and make this awareness and kind of leave it open if people want to donate to Carl Perkins or want to donate to our team,'” Smith said.
Above all, he hopes his journey over the next few days will bring awareness, prevent, and ultimately end child abuse.
“Next year I don’t think I’m going to be alone. I’ve had an overwhelming response of people text me this morning and encourage me, and they were saying, ‘I’m with you, good luck, God bless, God speed,'” Smith said. “And next year I think you’re going to see more people walking with blue bows and staffs.”
Smith is also wearing a vision head lamp to light his path, keeping up with this year’s Child Abuse Awareness Month theme “Be the light.”
To find more information or donate to the Carl Perkins Center in your county, click here.