San Francisco healing abused children during National Kids Month

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GET IN THE GAME is the maxim for a life well lived through helping others, especially the abused children of San Francisco, Ronnie Lott beckoned an audience Friday as headliner for the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center’s Tenth Annual Luncheon. Lott is seen with Cheryl Jennings who emceed the gathering and, at right, philanthropist and antique dealer Chip Zecher.
Photos by Thomas John Gibbons

By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher

Otherwise caring parents sometimes smack their kids around insulating the breach with hidden shame.

Hidden from those who might help, deadening the spirit of children who don’t understand why.

The breach occurs regularly and across a range of severity.

Each week, child protective services (CPS) agencies throughout the United States receive more than 50,000 reports of suspected child abuse or neglect. Annual reports affect some 5 million American children.

San Francisco, in this National Kids Month, turned attention throughout April to local children and all things impacting a child’s quality of life.

Most child services highlighted the joys of childhood, while locking eyes with children turned dead to emotion still comes quietly.

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Even so, there are those who shout down the silence.

“I don’t know if I would have that courage,” Ronnie Lott, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, lowered his voice before San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center luncheon Friday.

Lott spoke of Laveranues Coles, a New York Jets receiver, who came to public terms with being abused as a child.

“The reason why I say I don’t know if I would have that courage is because I don’t know if I would let that out,” reflected Lott.

“And yet because of him, it’s inspired me to be here. Because of all of you who are here you are inspiring me to want to help.”

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“I’m almost positive somebody is sitting here right now maybe afraid.

“You can’t be afraid.

“And the reason you can’t be afraid is you got to be in the game. Our society is calling for us to get in the game and when you think of children, and when you think of children who are being abused, we can stop it. We can prevent it.”

‘Exhaust life because there are moments you can change someone’s life’ -Ronnie Lott

“You got to share who you are. You got to volunteer. You got to volunteer and you got to play big,” Lott continued.

“My dad tells me this all the time – exhaust life.

“Exhaust life. It is the hardest thing to do because you get tired and you got people who say, “Oh, I can’t.’

“Exhaust life — because there are moments you can change people’s lives to make it better.”

Lott, who went on in 2004 to found and now control a $1 billion venture capital firm, and his wife, Karen, co-founded All Stars Helping Kids, a not-for-profit organization helping disadvantaged youth in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He appeared at the Friday luncheon to raise funds for the 34-year-old San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center.

Now located in a restored Fire House at 1757 Waller Street, the organization centralizes public and private services for children and parents.

The annual luncheon began ten years ago under leadership of Center Co-Presidents Cathy Topham and Lorraine Cohen.

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Cahty Topham and Lorraine Cohen

To volunteer, telephone Anita Moran at 415-387-3684 ext. 325.

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