St. Louis was never on the top of my list of places to visit. However I was given the opportunity to attend a conference and spend some much needed girl time there this month. Therefore, I happily booked my ticket. Now I confess that St. Louis was so much more than pretty sights and fun with my girlfriends. This trip empowered me to be obsessively grateful and to become a defender of innocence. I write this not just to give you some tips on what to see and do when in St. Louis but to raise awareness on a topic that is difficult to talk about but that is so important.
In between breakout sessions at the conference and seeing the best St. Louis has to offer like incredible free museums, beautiful parks, and of course the views from the Gateway Arch I learned about some disturbing statistics.
Did you know that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before they turn 18? These statistics are staggering and you may think that there is nothing you can do to help. But I am here to tell you that your voice counts. We must talk about it and help raise awareness.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to make many ripples.” – Mother Teresa.
There are so many myths associated with sexual abuse and we need to educate ourselves. Did you know that strangers are not the only danger? Most of us talk to our children about Stranger Danger but did you know that 90% of children know their abuser?
Did you know that most sexual abuse is rarely reported and sometimes even dismissed or swept under the rug by the families? We MUST do something not only to help the survivors but to stop this epidemic from happening.
“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try” – John F. Kennedy
You can become a defender of innocence and help create awareness to reduce the sexual exploitation of our children. You can do so by purchasing products to help raise awareness and round up your total as a donation to the foundation.
Every single month approximately $40,000 goes to the foundation just from choosing the option to round-up and adding anywhere from $.99 to $.01. And for every dollar you donate Younique and its founders Derek Maxfield and Melanie Huscroft donate $2, so for every $40,000 donated at round-up they donate $80,000. As you can see every penny counts. You DO make a difference.
However, you do not have to purchase products or make monetary donations to make a difference. There are other ways to help. You can lend your voice on social media by spreading the word to raise awareness. Go ahead and share this article and use the hashtag #defendinnocence or #startdefending. But most importantly speak about it with your children, with your family, and with your friends. Creating awareness is the first step. For more ideas visit Defend Innocence and learn simple things you can do to help. I am counting on YOU to be part of the solution. So tell me – What will you do to make a difference?
We have been talking about prevention and awareness but what about our survivors? If you or someone you know has been sexually abused Younique has a foundation that can help. They host a free Haven Retreat to help the millions of female survivors who have suffered from childhood sexual abuse. Click here to find out more and apply to attend the Haven Retreat and start the healing process.
Now that you know some of the things you can do to help in this great cause it is time for me to help you with your St. Louis plans.
What to see and do when you visit St. Louis:
Take in the views
Whether from up in the sky or by boat or land there are many options to take in the best St. Louis city views. You could take a helicopter tour, river cruise, or a ride up the gateway arch. Day or night the views are incredible.
Have an animal encounter
Experience one of the country’s best free zoos and visit the St. Louis Zoo, see the Clydesdales at Grant’s Farm, enjoy an afternoon at the family-friendly Purina Farms , or see the winged beauties at the World Bird Sanctuary.
Get some culture
There are many museums around the city and some of them are free like the Art museum and History museum. Pick one or see them all – here are a few other choices: Laumeier Sculpture Park and Museum, City Museum, Science Center, or National Blues Museum.
See a show
Whether it is a Broadway show, a small musical, opera, or concert, there is much to enjoy in St. Louis. Some of the venues are the Fabulous Fox Theater, Opera Theater, and the Muny in Forest Park. You can check out what is playing when you visit at the St. Louis Theater website.
Go to a ball game
You can take a tour or see a game at Busch Stadium. Click here for a list of games or to schedule a tour
Enjoy the outdoors
I was very surprised with all the beautiful green spaces I found in St. Louis. Take a break from the city and enjoy a picnic, go for a bike ride, paddle some boats, see some outdoor art or simply take a walk. Some places to enjoy the great outdoors – Forest Park, Botanical Gardens and City Garden
Visit a Brewery
Learn the history of beer in St. Louis and how it is produced, bottled and distributed in the many breweries around town. You can enjoy a free tour at the well-known Anheuser-Busch or see some of the smaller and more local breweries such as Schlafly Bottleworks brewery or 4 Hands Brewing Company.
Walk the Loop
This is a six block area that is packed with restaurants, bars, shopping, and even a Hollywood inspired walk of fame. Spend an hour or half a day and have fun at The Loop.
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