Kasie Beth Eckman, 17, a member of the Girl Scout Council of Middle Mississippi in Jackson and a junior at McComb High School, designed an abduction-prevention program that has taught thousands of kids in her area how to react when approached by strangers.
In the summer of 2002, Kasie Beth was struck by the number of news reports she saw about child abductions – not only in big cities, but in small towns like hers as well. “I was sure that if we gave children the knowledge to protect themselves, they could avoid being abducted,” she said.
After a lot of brainstorming with friends, Kasie Beth began developing a series of lessons, including materials, a program song and a mascot. She sought permission from school administrators to recruit and train 29 high school students to be instructors, and raised more than $3,000 to cover costs. Kasie Beth’s course, called STICK (for “Smart Thinking in Courageous Kids”) was delivered to more than 2,000 elementary school students the first year, and was so successful that Kasie Beth is hoping to expand it throughout Mississippi.