Wednesday the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network will receive a hefty donation, which given the recent attention to the need for services that groups like RAINN provide is not terribly surprising.
What makes this donation of more than $10,000 unique is that it comes from a 12-year-old girl, Kelsey Hirsch, the daughter of two Penn State graduates. She raised the money on her own after her parents sat her down and explained what was happening at Penn State.
“We tend to give our children the right understanding for adult situations,” Charles Hirsch told me of the decision he and his wife made to tell Kelsey and her younger brother about the unfolding scandal. “In this case, we are living in Pennsylvania, are both PSU grads and knew that if we didn’t tell [them], then someone else would. We wanted them to understand the truths and be able to ask questions.”
“My first response was to ask how can I help,” Kelsey, who lives in the small town of Schwenksville, Pa., wrote in an explanation of how she came to raise so much money.
Kelsey’s father suggested she connect with RAINN, a group that has been vocal in defending the victims of Jerry Sandusky and using the scandal to reach out to other victims of sexual abuse.
Kelsey did and ended up designing “Bands4RAINN,” blue and white bracelets for the Penn State colors and emblazoned with the RAINN slogan, “Hope. Courage. Strength. They are intended to show solidarity and support for victims of abuse.
RAINN officials will host Kelsey Wednesday at their Washington headquarters for a special ceremony to welcome her donation.
Kelsey said she plans to keep raising money — hopefully a total of $15,000 by early September. That’s when she’ll celebrate her Bat Mitzvah, which also inspired the project as preparation for it has a community service component.
The soon-to-be-8th grader said she hopes to eventually change the bracelet colors to match other schools and expand their sale nationwide.
“I hope the money helps RAINN to keep future children safe and current survivors with a place to feel safe after abuse. I really hope that the bands become a bigger national discussion, so that everybody focuses on helping children to never be hurt,” she said, through her father in an e-mail exchange he and I had. “Think how great it would be if everyone was wearing a Bands4RAINN and kids could see that as a safe haven.”