Members of a newly formed chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.) say they are proud to be helping children.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to exist, but we are here,” said Bubbles who cannot use her real name when talking in public about the organization.
After helping form a chapter in Quesnel, Bubbles and Hooligan were asked to start a chapter in Williams Lake.
“It has involved a year’s worth of training,” Hooligan said. “We had to go through security checks, finger printing, take online training and live seminars, and do lots of reading.”
Presently there are five members in the local chapter and Hooligan hopes more people will be interested in joining.
With a mandate to empower children not to be afraid in the world which they live, chapters have been formed around the world.
When B.A.C.A. is made aware of a new child who needs support, members will ride in a group to meet the child either at home or in another secure place.
In big centres like Seattle, Wash. it is not unheard of for 50 riders to take part in an empowerment ride.
Recently 40 B.A.C.A. members went dress shopping with one little girl at a mall, Hooligan said.
“We are there to remind them they are not alone,” Bubbles added. “We support broken kids to remind them they can be kids again.”
All of the children are considered to be little warriors and heroes because of their courage, said Stitches, the chapter’s treasurer.
“You do the training, then you meet that first child and it all gets put into perspective.”
Once a child is adopted into the B.A.C.A. family, “big burly bikers” can accompany the child to court, Bubbles said, noting the chapter must always be in contact with the local police and child services.
Each child receives a denim biker’s cut and is encouraged to choose their own road name.
“The road name lets them know they are in control,” Bubbles smiled.
Every child receives two primary contacts who are available 24/7 until they are 18 years of age.
“I’ve had phone calls at 3 a.m. and sat on the phone talking until morning building confidence,” Bubbles said, noting after the court process the contact normally lessens because the child may not need the support as much.
The bikers are available in any type of weather and if it is winter time they travel in cars, or as they call them, “cages,” referring to the fact they find freedom riding a bike.
B.A.C.A. was started by John Paul “Chief” Lilly, a licensed clinical social worker, registered play therapist and supervisor, and part-time faculty at Brigham Young University in Utah.
Chief was convinced that children who feel safe and protected are more capable and likely to tell the truth regarding their abuse because threats made by an abuser are offset by the presence of dedicated protective bikers that have now become family.
As an organization B.A.C.A. takes a firm stand against all forms of child abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional and child pornography.
The organization also maintains a therapy fund for children needing assistance.
Of all the things she has done in the community, Bubbles said B.A.C.A. is the most important by far.
“It has been a way to give back,” she added.
To join members must be 18 years of age or older and have access to a bike or be willing to volunteer as a supporter.
B.A.C.A. is holding an open meeting at Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Williams Lake at 200-389 Oliver Street on Sunday, Aug. 9 at 1 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to attend or for more information can call 778-412-9323.