As you all know, since 1978, I have been
supporting Childhelp USA, one of the largest and oldest national
nonprofit organizations dedicated to the treatment and prevention
of child abuse and neglect.
The two women who founded Childhelp, Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, wrote a book about their life's work called, "Silence Broken." Consequently, Lifetime TV made a movie based on their book. The movie is called, "For the Love of a Child" and it premeired Monday, January 9 on the Lifetime TV Network and will repeat periodically on Lifetime (check your local listings) .
I encourage you all to watch this movie and to tell your friends about it.
PS..."For the Love of a Child" was the most watched national cable program on Monday, January 9 during it's time slot!
For more information about this original movie made for television, please read the press release below and follow the links:
Peri Gilpin ("Frasier," "Final
Fantasy: The Spirits Within") and Teri Polo ("Meet the
Parents," "Meet the Fockers") star in the Lifetime
Original Movie, "For the Love of a Child," a moving,
triumphant drama inspired by the true story of two former actresses,
Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, and their odyssey to found
Childhelp USA, now a nationwide non-profit organization that has
saved and nurtured millions of abused and neglected children.
The film also follows the heart-wrenching ordeals of two young
children who find refuge at a Childhelp USA center, but struggle
to recover from the brutality of their home lives.
"This is a story that needs to be told," Executive Producer Craig Anderson said. "Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson are extremely magnetic, dynamic women. They've got strength, a power and an inner awareness that's really provocative," he continued. "Child abuse has reached epidemic proportions in America, and what they've accomplished is astonishing."
"More than 90% of the violent crimes in this country are committed by people who were abused as children," Executive Producer Jill Canaparo added. "This movie will hopefully help people understand what these children go through, and save lives."
"For the Love of a Child" chronicles the story of founders O'Meara (Gilpin) and Fedderson (Polo) who, in 1959, were two young Hollywood actresses performing for American troops on a USO tour. During their performance, a typhoon hits and unexpectedly, a life-changing odyssey unfolds for the pair. After the storm, their discovery of 9 orphans lost in the streets, impels a mission - fueled by the women's determination, energy, and resourcefulness -to rescue thousands of children abandoned in the Vietnam conflict. That undertaking leads to Childhelp USA and their fight to rescue abused children, at a time when few realized the pervasiveness of the plight.
In recounting O'Meara's and Fedderson's tale to found the organization, the story interweaves a pair of fictional present-day accounts, which highlight the compassion, strength and will the women and their team must command to prevent abuse from continuing. Their cases include a terrified nine-year-old boy, Jacob (Matthew Knight), who calls the Childhelp USA abuse hotline from his affluent household. When he is taken to the Childhelp Advocacy Center, medical evidence shows that he has been repeatedly tortured by his parents. Simultaneously at the Center, 11-year-old Laura (Emily Hirsch) is dealing with memories of the abuse by her mother's boyfriend, while her mother pleads for her to return to the same home where the man still lives.
Further, just as Sara and Yvonne begin to make headway in helping Jacob recover, his parents arrive... threatening their progress with legal action.
Before making the film, both Gilpin and Polo spent time at the Childhelp USA village in Beaumont, California. There, they interviewed staff members, and observed children in such activities as art therapy. Gilpin said, "I kept thinking of how vulnerable children are and what these children endure just broke my heart." Gilpin emphasized, "It's time to put a spotlight on child abuse. Sara and Yvonne were recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, so it's a good time to celebrate their lives and their work, and to do something to carry it on." Polo added, "I'm becoming an ambassador for Childhelp USA. This movie gives me the chance to do justice to these women's incredible journey."
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 2.9 million reports of possible maltreatment involving children were made to child protective service agencies in 2003. Yet, the actual incidence of abuse and neglect is estimated to be three times greater than the number reported to authorities. Lifetime is teaming up with Childhelp USA to encourage more people to get help and get involved.
Immediately following the premiere, Lifetime will air a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) with Gilpin and Polo to raise awareness of the issue of child abuse and the invaluable resource of the Childhelp USA hotline. Lifetimetv.com also will offer additional information on child abuse and neglect, as well as features on O'Meara, Fedderson, and the progress being made by Childhelp USA. In addition, Lifetime is working with Childhelp USA to promote passage of federal legislation currently pending in Congress that would establish critical protections for children and ensure that child abusers could no longer easily escape the law simply by crossing state lines.
Based on O'Meara and Fedderson's book, Silence Broken, "For the Love of a Child" is produced by Dog Run Productions, Inc. in association with First Light Productions for Lifetime Television.
Saving Children Nationwide
Recent Nobel Peace Prize nominees Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, who inspired this film, have established safe havens for neglected and abused kids around the country through Childhelp USA.
Childhelp National 24-Hour Child Abuse Hotline
(to report child abuse)
"For the Love of a Child."