Saturday, June 14, 2014

Our volunteer, Mike Casey has completed a redesign of our website!  You can check it out here.

We will be continuing with further updates and additions, but right now, we are just happy about the shiny new look and design!

Thank you, Mike, for all of your hard work and for donating your time and talent so that we can put a fresher face on our web presence!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Our education programs go beyond "self defense"

There is a battle being waged on the internet about personal safety.

Some people commenting on the issue of personal safety mock the idea that there is any validity to the practice of teaching relationship skills and respect for personal boundaries and for working to transform social attitudes towards victimization of children and adults.

These folks often view physical skills as the beginning and end of personal safety, and the solution to abduction, abuse, bullying, and exploitation.

While we teach violence resistance concepts and techniques in our classes, we also begin our education with the very young and teach children to recognize problem behaviors to trigger a protective response BEFORE there is a need to hit, kick, bite and scratch to get away.

This should in no way be taken as a pacifistic view of victimization, or that we don't advise fighting back when in immediate danger.

The National Center for Missing And Exploited Children (NCMEC) collected statistics;

Of the attempted abductions that had a known outcome of how the child escaped the suspect:
  • 51 percent involved children walking or running away from the suspect with no physical contact.
  • 32 percent involved children reporting some type of reaction such as yelling, kicking, pulling away or attracting attention.
  • 17 percent involved either a parent or another individual rescuing the child."
Our educational programs empower children to access ALL of these successful strategies, not just kicking and punching.
We help them practice responses that will make them safer from the very beginning of an approach by someone who might hurt them (while still behaving in socially appropriate ways towards people who won't hurt them).

Additionally, we introduce the concept that everybody deserves to be safe and respected.  So, just as we empower children to stand up for themselves and defend themselves if necessary, we also reinforce the idea that they should respect the rights of others.

Some will say that it is foolish to believe that we can have an effect by teaching children not to hurt others or disrespect them, or make them feel unsafe.

We believe, however, that the more children we teach to respect the rights of others at the same time that we teach them to stand up for themselves and make safer choices at every point in their interactions with others, the less need there will be for violent resistance to violence.

Our message is complete, empowering and pro-social. Instead of "not me" we teach that nobody should be victimized, ever.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Amy Sue Pagnac's Mother and Sister speak with the press

Today, Susan Pagnac Sr. and Susan Pagnac Jr met with the press to talk about the search of Amy's childhood home, where Susan Pagnac Sr. and Amy's father, Marshall Midden, still live.

They spoke a little about the state of the house after the search, which is a mess and in significant disarray. They insist that the house was left in the best condition possible, under the circumstances.  The inconvenience, and the mess is all worth it if they find Amy.

They pointed out that the people working this case are different people than those investigating in the past, and that these new investigators might benefit from hearing any information first hand.

They are asking the public to share any information they have with police, whether or not they have already shared what they know.

Also, they urge members of the public to go to the BCA Clearinghouse web page and view the poster with an age-progressed photo showing what she might look like at age 33 (she is 38 now).

Somebody knows what happened to Amy Sue Pagnac. If you know something, please contact the Maple Grove Police Department, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or the Minnesota BCA Missing Person's Clearinghouse with any information you have.  Every lead is valuable, no matter how small.

This family is very strong in their support for one another, and their support for Amy. Please help by looking at the poster, and sharing what you know.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Missing Children Minnesota Commemorates 30 Years of Service

Governor Dayton has issued a proclamation declaring February 17th to be Missing Children Minnesota Day.

The Proclamation reads:

Whereas: February 17, 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of Missing Children Minnesota; and

Whereas: The education of our children in personal safety and the support of searching families is in the interest of all Minnesotans; and

Whereas: Missing Children Minnesota has tirelessly worked to provide valuable and effective prevention education to the public as well as support for searching families.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, MARK DAYTON, Governor of Minnesota, di hereby proclaim Monday, February 17, 2014, as:

The 30th Anniversary of Missing Children Minnesota in the state of Minnesota.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Minnesota to be affixed at the State Capitol this 10th day of February.

Missing Children Minnesota (MCM) was founded on Feb 17th in 1984.

This date is significant for a number of reasons in the missing children community.  It is the birthdays of two of Minnesota’s long-term missing children; Jacob Wetterling and Corrine Erstad. More specific to Missing Children Minnesota, February 17th is also the day that our Executive Director, Carol Watson’s missing son was found safe. Hope for the missing, gratitude for those who have been found safe, and remembrance for those found injured or deceased motivate us to continue our mission into the future.

The mission of Missing Children Minnesota is to help in locating missing children; to provide advocacy and support services to families of missing children and to provide information and prevention education to the public regarding missing children and runaways.

In addition to search assistance, we also provide four critically acclaimed educational programs to children and adults throughout Minnesota and all across the country. Every year, MCM presents abduction prevention and personal safety programs to schools, daycare centers, early childhood and family education groups, churches and children's vacation camps.

We hope that by providing children with the information they need to be safer this year, we will have fewer missing children next year. In 2013 MCM provided education to approximately 2,000 adults and children, and search assistance for 32 searching families.

You can bring our education programs to children in your area or contact us about a missing child by calling (612) 334-9449, or by e-mailing inquiries to Our phone is staffed 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year.

Our assistance to searching families is always free of charge.

You can learn more about Missing Children Minnesota by following us on:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January is National Stalking Awareness Month

As we begin the New Year, we look forward to our continued mission to bring lessons of personal safety to all of Minnesota's children.

Our programs for children, teachers, parents and law enforcement stress the concept of it being OK to say "no" to unwanted contact, and the right to feel safe in your home, school, neighborhood and other places that are important to you and your well-being.

Stalking is a very important issue that touches on this concept. A stalker will often use a person's connection to a place, or need to be somewhere as a tool to maintain unwanted contact, as well as to force interactions that are intrusive, unwanted, and even dangerous.

Stalking is not only frightening, it is a kind of theft.  The stalker steals the victim's "zone of safety", in a way.

While the victim might or might not come to any physical harm, and the stalker might in fact not intend any harm, there is still harm done. Everyone has a right to feel safe, and to say "no" to unwanted contact.

In our education programs, we teach this concept of feeling free to say "no", and the need to respect "no" from others from the very earliest ages that our programs reach.

Anti-stalking laws are important, proper enforcement is important, and personal safety techniques are important skills to have, but the place where we can have the most impact is to teach our children to respect boundaries from a very young age, to insist that their own boundaries be respected, and to back up others when they see boundaries being asserted and violated.

For more information about Stalking in the U.S., please read this report from the Department of Justice and the CDC.