John Stamos and Childhelp, Making Children Safe
“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then, there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”
In 1959 two young actresses, Sara (Buckner) O’Meara and Yvonne (Lime) Fedderson, rescued eleven homeless children from a typhoon in Japan. They didn’t know it at the time, but this act of kindness would ignite their lifelong commitment to helping children in need. In the years following, the pair worked tirelessly to raise funds, eventually going on to build and maintain five orphanages, a hospital and a school, before focusing their attention on the welfare of children back home in America.
“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then, there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” FRED ROGERS
After learning the intensity of the child abuse epidemic in their own country, the actresses did everything they could to shine a spotlight on the issue and urge others to get involved. Making it their mission to help abused, neglected, and at-risk children, in 1976 they opened the doors of the Children’s Village USA in Beaumont, California, the first pioneering residential treatment center dedicated to treating severely abused kids.
Since then, Childhelp has grown exponentially, focusing its efforts on advocacy, prevention, intervention, treatment and community outreach through a number of programs and services including:
- residential treatment services
- children’s advocacy centers
- therapeutic foster care
- group homes
- child abuse prevention, education and training.
In recognition of their life-changing work, the founders have been presented with awards from President Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul, the Queen of England; and have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize nine times.
This year, Childhelp is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and continues to be a beacon of hope and healing in the lives of countless children. However, this success would not have been possible without the help of Childhelp’s loyal supporters. Among the many is actor John Stamos, who has worked closely with the non-profit for the past three decades, providing a voice for abused and at-risk children across the nation.
Stamos’ involvement with Childhelp began 30 years ago when his mother saw her son’s career begin to flourish and wanted to ensure he always stayed grounded through philanthropy. Each year he hosted the Childhelp Holiday Party, took groups of children to Disneyland, and attended Childhelp events to lend his celebrity to fundraising.
“We’ve watched John grow from a budding young actor to a successful Hollywood star, and he’s always had room in his heart to give back to children who need help the most. His mother, Loretta, was a loving supporter and we know she would have been beyond proud to see her son carry on this family tradition of giving,” Childhelp Co-Founder, CEO and Chairman Sara O’Meara said.
He has served as an advocate for children whose version of home has been completely shattered by abuse and neglect. He frequently visits the Childhelp Merv Griffin Village – a residential treatment facility providing specialized care in a nurturing environment – and his humor and heart give recovering children hope.
Last November, Stamos heightened his commitment to the non-profit when he became the official spokesman for the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline. “One of the benefits of being on familiar, family programming for so long is that kids have grown up with me; they trust some of the characters I’ve played. If I can use that platform to encourage them to trust their own voices, to make a call when they are being hurt, that is my most important role yet,” shared Stamos.
While Childhelp has transformed the lives of countless children, their work has just begun. Every year millions of children in the United States suffer from abuse and neglect. This hidden epidemic not only robs victims of their childhood, but also has heartbreaking long-term consequences. If you see any signs of abuse in someone you know, call or text 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) for help.
Support Childhelp’s life-changing work, visit www.childhelp.org and donate today.
In an effort to broaden its reach, Childhelp launched their National Child Abuse Hotline in 1982. Dedicated to the prevention and intervention of child abuse, the toll-free hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who – through interpreters – provide assistance in over 170 languages. Over the last two decades the hotline has serviced more than 2.5 million calls, offering crisis intervention, information, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources.