By Tressa McIff
On October 18-20, dozens of volunteers from across the KC metro area joined together in the search for missing children and teenagers. By the end of the search, two missing teenagers were found safe, and search teams got 52 leads, 32 of which are considered “actionable”.
Volunteers involved in the project were put into groups of 4-10 and went around the area handing out baseball cards and booklets with pictures of the missing youth. On average, volunteers visited 50 hotels and 94 businesses each day. The search was considered to be so successful that the organizers are planning other searches with F.R.E.E. International, Called2rescue and KlassKids within the next eight months, which means anybody who wasn’t able to volunteer this time will likely have plenty more opportunities.
The BIG Search was started by Brad Dennis in 2009 in Tampa, Florida. It has taken place in every Super Bowl city since then, except in 2017 when it was only in Las Vegas. The BIG Search has won multiple awards and been recognized by national law associations. It helps spread awareness about missing youth in the cities it targets as well as informs people about how to report tips if they see a missing child.
Run to Stop It is another program associated with the BIG Search in Kansas City. Run to Stop It raised money and awareness during the KC marathon on October 20. It also targets missing children, specifically sex trafficking victims. The goal was to raise $250,000. All proceeds go to organizations to help stop sex trafficking internationally, nationally, and locally.
Even though the BIG Search is over, it’s not too late to help in the search for missing youth. If you want to help in this effort, you can go online at thebigsearchkc.com to look at pictures of these children, and keep your eyes open in our community.