Robin Hill knows something about kids, safety, and preparing for emergencies. The mother of six, and having been foster mom to another forty-seven or so – the “kids” part – Hill and her team run an Allstate-affiliate insurance agency at 5222 Rolling Road in Burke – and that covers the safety and emergency-preparedness bit. On Friday, Feb. 8, she combined both areas of expertise and commitment with the ribbon-cutting that made her agency add “Operation Kidsafe Year-Round Child Safety Center” to the list of what she and the team offer to the community.
Effective immediately, Hill and company will be offering a digital photo and fingerprint record service for children and vulnerable adults, at no cost to the families.
The equipment, which includes the digital camera, fingerprinting unit and printer to produce the identification card that results from the captured data, is provided by Operation Kidsafe International, a company based in Springfield, Ill., founded by Mark Bott. Bott worked for four years with John Walsh, the father who was instrumental in creating the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and who dedicated himself to victim’s rights and child safety advocacy after the murder of his six-year-old son Adam in 1981. The two worked together on Walsh’s reality television series “America’s Most Wanted.”
Bott himself was a force behind the establishment of the Amber Alert system and has spearheaded a number of child-safety initiatives in the United States and Canada. With Operation Kidsafe International, Bott recruits community partners to sponsor the Safety Centers and events where children and vulnerable adults can have the uniform, Amber Alert-ready identification card prepared for free.
Hill, along with her husband Shak who is a financial planner, author, motivational speaker and owner of Guiding Light Publishing, answered the call for families in Northern Virginia, agreeing to the annual fee to maintain sponsorship, and to being ready, willing, and able to market the service and utilize it to help keep local children safe.
AT THE RIBBON-CUTTING EVENT, where Shak Hill handled the role of emcee, local officials, members of law enforcement, faith communities, children’s organizations, and the Fairfax County Public Schools systems gathered to celebrate the addition of this latest tool in the child safety arsenal and to thank Robin, her husband, and her team for their willingness to step up for the sake of the community’s kids.
Noting the increase in online child predator activity and in human trafficking in our own area, Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) remarked “this program is an important addition to the fight against these crimes.” He added that “no one program, organization or effort can meet this challenge alone,” thanking Hill for serving as a community partner on an issue of critical importance.
Tom Vaccarello, Dir. of Safety and Security for Fairfax County Public Schools also spoke at the event, saying that the introduction of the Operation Kidsafe Program is “a great thing, and needed to help keep our kids, and the community, safer.’
Hill seemed more comfortable out of the limelight, cutting the cake made especially for the occasion with the Operation Kidsafe logo, and operating the equipment to demonstrate the speed and ease of its use. But she was persuaded to speak a few words to the attendees.
“Just that minute when you don’t see your child in the store – it’s sudden, terrifying panic,” she said, evoking a nightmare moment for parents everywhere. She hopes that no one she works with will ever have to make use of the identification cards, “but to be prepared in case is everything,” since she says in that panic-filled moment even the most familiar detail about your child or adult loved one can be difficult to recall. The card is ready with all the pertinent information that law enforcement need to start their search and investigation.
“I am really just grateful to have this opportunity to further contribute to the safety of our kids,” she said.
Even before getting involved with the identification system service, Hill was already doing her part, working with law enforcement on their child car seat checking initiative and securing a grant from Allstate for the purchase of car seats for those less able to afford them. Hill acknowledged that local law enforcement resources are already stretched, so “if we all do just a little, we can make things better together for everyone.”
FOLLOWING THE BRIEF SPEECHES, Hill demonstrated the system, with Supervisor Herrity offering to be the first volunteer. In just over 60 seconds, Herrity was handed his identification card, with his digital photo and copy of all ten fingerprints.
“Now, don’t fill out any of the personal information until you get home,” cautioned Hill. That is something she will tell all who participate.
“None of this information is recorded. It’s completely private, not shared with anyone. You get the only copy of the photo and the fingerprints,” she stated. “But you don’t want to include the personal info until you can put this somewhere safe. You wouldn’t want to lose this on your way home.”
Operation Kidsafe International has already processed more than one million children. Robin Hill and her family and team are ready to add to those rolls. Hill says call to make an appointment to process your child or vulnerable adult at the office, or to discuss arrangements for the equipment to be offered at an event, a faith community, or wherever appropriate. The equipment is mobile, easy to set up, requiring little space and just an electric outlet for power. Since this is the only such center in Virginia at this time, Hill is willing to take her traveling safety resources within a 50-mile radius.
Call 703-425-5600 or email Robin@RobinHillInsurance.com to schedule your appointment, learn more, or arrange a mobile event.