Kelly Hawkins is an extraordinary young woman – a leader in the fight against child abuse in Alabama. At the age of 23, she has already co-authored a piece of legislation, Act 2003-272, and has seen it through the legislative process. This act was signed into law on June 18, 2003 by Gov. Bob Riley and later named the “Kelly B. Hawkins Child Abuse Prevention Act.” This law amended Alabama’s mandatory child abuse reporting law to include clergy. Miss Hawkins is working with federal legislators to take this act to a national level. She is also working with Alabama state representatives to determine a method of funding an act similar to Florida’s recently passed “Jessie’s Law” making it easier to track convicted sex offenders after they are released from prison.
Miss Hawkins has gone beyond her legislative pursuits to help Alabama’s children on a more personal level. Along with her mother, she raised over $75,000 to fund the Pike County Child Advocacy Center and was able to participate in its grand opening on May 16, 2005. Earlier this year, Kelly went through the appropriate training and has been named a Jefferson County Court Appointed Special Advocate. In a recent update on her website, Kelly says, “By far, the most gratifying aspect of my platform work has been my work with the CASA program. Through CASA I have the opportunity to be an advocate for abused children in the courtroom. It has been fulfilling because of the children I get to work with. Most of these children have experienced more pain in their few years of life than I will in a lifetime. But yet, they are the reason I do what I do.”
Kelly has spoken to local organizations about the plight of child abuse victims; most recently at a May 11, 2005 volunteer appreciation lunch for the Parents and Children Together Family Resource Center. On April 4, 2005, Kelly was a speaker and entertainer for the Etowah County, Alabama Candlelight Vigil for victims of child abuse.
Miss Hawkins has chosen to make child abuse prevention her life’s work and will begin law school at Regent Law School in Virginia this fall. Her passion for child abuse victims has led her to this vocation.
Kelly B. Hawkins has made a difference in the lives of abused children. She continues to be a role model to other young people as she fights to make a difference in the world around her. Her work in the area of Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention has shown her sense of caring and responsibility for those unable to speak for themselves – the abused children of Alabama. Kelly’s work is helping build a stronger Alabama.