There is a special place in my heart for people who believe in being a voice for those without one.

That's why I wholeheartedly support the mission of the Gingerbread House. It's absolutely horrifying to me that one in ten American children will be sexually abused by the time they are 18 years old. That number is staggering, but these aren't just numbers or statistics, these are our children. Our future.

There's a great opportunity coming up to learn more about efforts to protect children and to support the Gingerbread House. Their Partners in Prevention Luncheon will feature keynote speaker Erin Merryn — who, aside from being an author and an activist, is a child sexual abuse survivor who relied on a Child Advocacy Center at age 13 to help her tell her story and heal, according to her website, erinmerryn.net. Now, she pushes for sexual abuse prevention education nationwide and has spoken at more than 250 CAC events.

The Gingerbread House Partners in Prevention Luncheon is Thursday, November 4 from noon-1:30 p.m. at Sam's Town Casino Resort. You can find ticket and sponsorship information on the Gingerbread House's website, gingerbreadhousecac.org.

Erin and her sister remained silent for so long about their abuse because the only voices they heard were their abusers telling them no one would believe them. But as adults, we know there are many ways to help young victims. Let's join together, support the important work of the Gingerbread House and put a stop to this in our community.