Coach Reich’s foundation raises awareness about child abuse

CHARLOTTE — Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich and his wife, Linda, created the kNot Today foundation in Indianapolis, which has now expanded to Charlotte.

kNot Today just released its first round of grants to organizations in the Carolinas.

Channel 9′s Phil Orban went to Mocksville this week to meet some of the beneficiaries.

“Kids are being abused and no one is reporting it,” said Brandi Reagan, the executive director at the Dragonfly House, which is a children’s advocacy center. “Kids are being abused and no one is paying attention to it. No one knows their legal obligation.”

One year ago, Reagan met with Shellie Bowlin, the executive director of Robins Nest in Caldwell County and Shawn Edman, with the Terrie Hess Child Advocacy Center, to create the W5 Program, which educates adults on their mandatory reporting responsibility when they witness or suspect child abuse.

“We, basically, said these laws serve no purpose if no one knows they exist,” Reagan said.

The grant will allow the program to grow and expand across North Carolina to fight child physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.

Adults must understand it’s not a choice to report it. It’s a legal obligation, the advocates said.

“We need to be able to present that message to explain what the law is and the kNot Today foundation allows us to do that,” Bowlin said.

Working in child advocacy can be rewarding but the emotional weight of taking on a child’s suffering can sometimes be too much.

The Reichs can raise money and awareness, which helps ease the burden that Reagan and Bowlin carry.

“There is a lot of suffering in this world and we can’t fix everything but we can at least help a child,” said Bowlin.

“It’s going to protect kids in the long run and that is what we all want,” said Reagan. “That’s our goal and we want to eradicate child abuse. We want to put ourselves out of a job.”

If you are aware of or suspect a child is in danger, you are required by law to report it to your local law enforcement or DSS agency.

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