Restore Innocence aims to help victims of child trafficking. Headquartered in Colorado Springs, the faith-based organization partnered with the FBI Denver Citizens Academy Alumni Association and the FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association at an event on Saturday.
When I checked in to the FBINCAAA Leadership Conference, I learned that the “community engagement project” on our agenda would be the Restore Innocence event outside Sports Authority Field at Mile High. We heard a moving presentation from the organization’s leaders at our dinner on Friday night. They told us that young runaways are often approached by pimps and enslaved within hours.
Our job was to assemble Restoration Bags. We walked along an assembly line, collecting sweat pants, underwear, socks, t-shirts, toiletries and a blanket into a plastic bag. When young girls are rescued during a sting operation, they are given one of the bags to get through their first night and to help them start to feel normal again. The American Red Cross had a parallel assembly line for disaster readiness kits.
Several law-enforcement agencies set up demonstrations around the perimeter of the area. After some comments from the people in charge, The Fray performed a four-song acoustic set. I had a chance to briefly chat with the band and with Special Agent in Charge Jim Yacone, who was awarded the Silver Star for his military service in Mogadishu, Somalia. During our conversation, I discovered that Yacone was originally from New Rochelle, New York, and that his mother Shirley was the school nurse at my high school.