“Nightmare of Child Abuse!” Kids need trusted teachers & mentors in school and after-school…


Dr. Wills Neighborhood Podcast click here…

Thanks to psychotherapist, author, speaker and all-around terrific dude Dr. Will Miller, BeAKidsHero now is available as a podcast!

dr-wills-neighborhood-logo-w-convDr. Will has put together an online community of podcasts as part of his Dr. Will’s Neighborhood, where folks can join “the best conversation in town”… and he’s invited BeAKidsHero to move into ‘the hood’! 😉

An impressive lineup of expert guests will join me in discussing ways to protect children from sexual abuse and other types of maltreatment, as well as a host of issues related to child abuse. Parents, teachers and other caring adults will gain greater insight into child protection and exploitation issues that can impact kids of all ages from infancy through their teenage years.  Expert guests will offer insight, advice and tips that can help each of us make a difference and truly improve the world one child at a time.


Ginger Kadlec, “BeAKidsHero,” is one of my early collaborative friends in our work on behalf of Children and Families in Life after Trauma.  I’m grateful for her support and caring friendship.  Ginger encouraged me to keep writing in my blog, speaking, and authoring books.  Our best collaboration is “The War Within: PTSD” by Ginger Kadlec, published by Project Eve. My years of heartfelt work with www.neighborsforkids.org and the children we serve has been at the center of my own personal growth and healing as well.

Dr. Will talks about “Refrigerator Rights” with those trusted friends, neighbors and mentors outside of the home as a powerful social interaction benefit to help children who become isolated as a result of child abuse and maltreatment.  I certainly recall the loneliness of my childhood back in the 1950’s when our home was scary.  It was even worse trying to talk about it, so we lied to our teachers, coaches, friends and mentors.  We siblings hung on to hope that our toxic life at home was normal and we were tough.  We had very few close friends as we moved so often as a post WWII and Korean War US Navy military family.

Please listen to the podcast, Dr. Will’s Neighborhood with Ginger Kadlec.  This is honest straight talk for parents, teachers, and mentors.  The conversation touched my heart and soul!

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1&2…click the highlighted text for my author page and to order books, please!

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

November 20th Universal Childrens Day…”Be A Kids Hero!”


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Kids with Globe
Be A Kids Hero…click image for larger view…

Universal Children’s Day  Guest Post by LAURIE A. GRAY, JD http://sumo.ly/cNqo via @GingerKadlec  Click the highlighted text link for more…

“November 20 is Universal Children’s Day.  The date marks the day the United Nations (“UN”) adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

Within a year of its enactment, 130 nations ratified this treaty guaranteeing certain fundamental human rights to children. Today the UNCRC stands as the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world. With Somalia and South Sudan ratifying the treaty in 2015, only one nation has refused to stand with the rest of the world to protect children: The United States of America.


I am a proud member of Ginger Kadlec”s “Be A Kids Hero”   As an author, blogger, and child advocate for many years, it is an honor to help advance awareness of the rights of children of all ages, especially child abuse and maltreatment.  My great passion is supporting the education of children through my work with Neighbors for Kids, Depoe Bay, Oregon.  As parents, teachers,  and mentors we should be more aware of the steps we can take to protect our most precious asset, the children of all ages everywhere.

“In the United States we now acknowledge that corporal punishment inflicted on one’s spouse is a form of domestic violence, but about 70% of parents still cling to the belief that hitting, slapping, and other forms of violence intended to inflict physical pain on a child are appropriate.”  UNCRC. Article 37(a) states, “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”  The United States needs to ratify the UNCRC Treaty to join all nations who provide children with the same protections under the legal system as adults.  Please take quality time to become more aware of the UNCRC Treaty and encourage your congressional delegation to act on behalf of America’s children.  “Be A Kids Hero” and do your part in recognition of Universal Children’s Day…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page and ordering books and Amazon.com products…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, and Child Advocate

Kids Remind Us of The Christmas Spirit… Surround yourself with the joy and laughter of children…


“Be a Kids Hero!” Click highlighted text for more…
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This time of year I reflect on the many blessings in my life… my family, my friends, and Heroes like you who are helping make the world a better place for children. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or simply the warmth of the season, I wish you and your family peace, love and much happiness. Thank you for making my 2014 so very memorable and I look forward to partnering with you in the coming year as we collaborate to continue raising awareness and work to protect even more children.

Warmest wishes,


My friend and colleague Ginger Kadlec has helped me over the past several years to learn more about the lasting effects of children victimized by maltreatment and child abuse.  My heightened level of awareness has strengthened my own journey of healing from experiencing the trauma of child abuse while growing up as a military child during the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  I am now able to talk about and share my experience with others without shame or denial.  I have come to know and believe that those who suffer from past traumatic events, including child abuse, can heal from the invisible wounds and symptoms of depression, anxiety and guilt.  It is not what is wrong with a trauma victim, it is what happened to them! (click highlighted text).  Knowing this fact allows a person struggling with the painful emotional baggage of traumatic events, including maltreatment and child abuse, to move forward in life with peace of mind and much improved mental health.

It is in the spirit of Ginger’s holiday greeting and heartwarming work to protect children, our most precious resource, that I extend my thanks and best wishes during this season to my three daughters, and their families, other family members, friends, and followers.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…

“I was easy prey.” October is Month of Awareness for Domestic Violence!


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“Be a Kids Hero!” Click banner for larger view…


“I was easy prey.” Her first memory of being sexually abused is when she was just four-years old…
Ginger Kadlec… Impassioned child advocate. Enthusiastic dog and cat mommy. Proud aunt. Happy wife.


“I was easy prey…”  click on highlighted website article by Ginger Kadlec…  Quote from the article follows…

“He was close to my mother, he visited our family home,” Susan Crocombe recalls in an interview with Steve Harris of BBC Radio Solent’s Breakfast in Dorset 103.8 fm. “If mum was having a bad day, she would be in bed… so he had complete access to me. I actually loved him. I would have done anything for him.”

“He” was a member of Susan’s extended family who sexually abused her for years. She recalls, “Things he did became quite serious 18 months leading up to my 13th birthday,” at which point her molester began feeding his addiction by sharing her with other adults, including taking photographs of and filming her.

“I associated presents with rewards for being good. I was easy prey.”~Susan Crocombe

In this BBC Radio Solent interview, Susan reflects on the sexual abuse she endured as a child and the impact the abuse had on her as a teenager and adult. She discusses issues like being groomed and says, “Who doesn’t like to feel special to get gifts, presents, be validated? For me, it was very subtle. I was very young, so I didn’t know what was happening was wrong… I associated presents with rewards for being good. I was easy prey.”


In my view, the above reference is absolutely the worst case scenario and tragedy connected with domestic violence and child abuse!  I lived in a highly toxic home while growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  The vivid memories of being scared and living with domestic violence still haunts me at times.  My home was affected by the hard combat trauma my father experienced during all of WWII and deployment during the Korean War.  We did not have any kind of domestic violence awareness during the post WWII era…let alone a month like October designated to help children and families become more aware of its seriousness, long term impact on mental health, and ways to get help.  We siblings, as military kids, felt scared and alone most of the time.  We were afraid to go home when Dad was home for fear of the next beating that could come our way or the threatening emotional outbursts that often came out of nowhere as Dad struggled with his own demons.  Mother was affected severely as a wartime military spouse and from her own traumatic childhood during the “depression era.”  Our entire family was emotionally damaged and we thought it was just normal and mostly our fault as kids for not being good.  What happened in our home stayed at home.  From all appearances our family behaved as normal adults and kids outside of the home and in school.  We would not dare speak of being scared to go home…  Dad was a WWII US Navy hero by day and an angry and dangerous man by night.

Thousands of families were toxic like ours during this post WWII era, but we didn’t know it until later in life when the topic of combat related PTSD was finally revealed and understood more clearly.  But the stigma of mental health challenges and the intergenerational effects of post trauma symptoms referred to as secondary PTSD or complex PTSD kept countless children and families from seeking help.  The stigma of PTSD remains a big challenge to this day!

I lived with the emotional baggage of child abuse and domestic violence until later in life while doing research on our post WWII family’s toxic culture and the how war affects the mental health of soldiers and sailors long after the war ends.  Writing my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, was finally the beginning of my own journey of healing at age 64, and I am not alone… If it had not been for the gift of awareness, I would still be living with emotional pain.  It is a joy to look forward to each day now with peace of mind.   The anger, depression, and anxiety tearing away at my heart and soul is now gone, but is a work in progress to keep the pain of past trauma at a safe distance.  I am very blessed and thankful for the work of Ginger Kadlec  and many others in the mental health community for building awareness through social media.  I am also grateful for the support of my family and friends who help keep me grounded with positive energy each and every day…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click the highlighted text for my author page…

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Steve Sparks, Age 10, 1956…

“Be A Kid’s Hero Daily” by Ginger Kadlec… What is child maltreatment?

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Steve Sparks, age 10 in 1956, was a victim of “child maltreatment” during his early child and young adult life…

Child Maltreatment is Real!  Quote from Ginger Kadlec’s “Be a Child’s Hero Daily” website…

“Child “maltreatment” is defined as “violent or cruel treatment” and encompasses a variety of abuses including physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect.  Researchers reviewed nearly 5.7 million confirmed cases of maltreatment that were registered in the The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). This study found that approximately 80% of the child maltreatment cases involved neglect.”

Child advocate, blogger and children’s author “wanna-be” working to improve the world one child at a time. Join Ginger’s efforts via her website at www.gingerkadlec.com.
Be a Kid’s Hero…click for larger view…

Be a Kid’s Hero Daily…  Click on this website and subscribe to updates…  Quote from Ginger Kadlec…

“With an estimated 1 in 8 children victimized by maltreatment in the United States, child abuse is a problem of pandemic proportion. While it can be a difficult subject to discuss, we must address the issue of child abuse head-on to ensure the safety of little ones who entrust their very lives to the big people around them.”


Ginger Kadlec is one of my favorite heroes!  She is by any measure an example of “Be a Kid’s Hero Daily.”  Ginger and I became friends a couple of years ago and collaborated on an article, The War Within: PTSD, (click highlighted text) that remains very popular to this day…  Ginger and I stay in touch on a regular basis.  She gave me great encouragement and helped me on my own journey of healing following the publication of Reconciliation: A Son’s Story in November 2011.

I refer to my life as a child as the “too terrible to remember 1950’s and early 1960’s.  It took me most of my adult life to forgive my parents and the toxic life we lived while growing up.  Forgiveness was absolutely critical to healing from child abuse and emotional neglect during my early years as a kid and young adult.  My father suffered terribly as a victim of severe trauma from hard combat during all of WWII and deployment during the Korean War as well.  My mother developed severe symptoms of secondary PTSD from her own Depression Era childhood, and as a military spouse and mother from the “Greatest Generation.”  Dad passed away in 1998 and lived a relatively peaceful life during his last years following a regimen of mental health treatments.  Mother is turning 96 this September and still has flashbacks from those post WWII years as a caregiver for my father.  We siblings carried the emotional baggage of PTSD forward as well, which we now know as the intergenerational effect and impact of living in a toxic home where love and kindness is almost non-existent.  PTSD hangs on like bad genes if not treated effectively or if the trauma victim is in denial….

I enjoy peace of mind these days as a senior citizen.  No longer are the bad dreams, the constant anxiety, depression, and ache in my heart, including physical pain.  No child should have to live with toxic circumstances at home, at play, or in school…never!  I spend my life in retirement making a difference for kids in my work with Neighbors for Kids in Depoe Bay, Oregon.  My life now is a blessing and a journey of healing, but still a work in progress.  Kids or adults who suffer from severe trauma often live with PTSD symptoms for a lifetime…the pain never leaves your heart and mind…but alternative treatment strategies keep my feet on the ground.  I am also blessed with an amazing spouse, family members, and great friends who help keep me focused on the love and kindness I so desperately needed as a kid, and didn’t discover until later in life…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… Click highlighted text for my author page…