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m.gibson

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Review for Operation Lookout National Center for Missing Youth, Everett, WA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

For 30 years Operation Lookout served families whose children vanished without a trace. It was founded in 1984 out of an altruistic response to a child victim crisis. It closed in 2015, when its cofounder, Mike Gibson suffered 3 strokes. It became apparent to us, (Mike and Melody), that we had 'aged out', that technology had grown beyond our knowledge, that the missing child concern was represented by a new generation of caring professionals, and that call center costs were never going to reduce (because federal and state laws did not pass to reduce their fees.) The costs were large but real. It became apparent, the goal that mattered most was child recovery. Our reputation was wounded by costs that ignited investigations . . .we never expected to be taken advantage of, however some call centers acted in a questionable manner that harmed our good name. Our goal was to continue for the sake of searching parents, regardless.
The Caring for Our Children Foundation, was founded in 2001, in hopes of reducing costs and We closed it when its overhead prohibited grants.
Nothing done had a nefarious twist to it, as some reports would lead you to believe. The truth is that we, personally, refinanced our home, went without pay for long seasons, went without unemployment benefits, and still the sacrifices were maligned. It was all problematic, but our calling was to serve families in crisis, and so, in spite of the flack, bad reports, or outright lies, we continued until it was obvious our time of services was no longer needed.
Our trusted board of directors and advisors, and 3rd party accounting service providers, operated above reproach. To imply otherwise, is to imply they had greed or personal gain in mind. Nothing is further from the truth.
In the end, I, MELODY, sought out a board of directors who would bring both nonprofits into Canada as a nonprofit society, giving both a fresh start, away from bad press created in the USA. The attempts failed once I stepped out to retire. The names in Canada were THE VOICE OF A CHILD and Faces of the Lost.
In the end, we look back at these small nonprofits feeling blessed to be there at a time in history when few were available.
Our slogan was, EVERY MISSING CHILD DESERVES THE CHANCE TO BE FOUND. These days, sex trafficking reflects the truth that, more people are needed in this search field, not fewer.
If you have read this far, then we ask that you consider giving willingly to your local or national missing child non profit agency. The more people giving directly with no middleman calling or mailing you for support, the greater the result. Its not wasted. Its not.
The small centers are effective. The large ones may cost more. Whatever the case, give. They count on you to care as much as they do. Just Care.
Because, if not you, then who?
Which is worse? Not giving or giving a portion to find a child?
Be blessed. We have been.
STAY involved in our place.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Go out of my way to become a grant writer, or work to change fundraising rules to prohibit high costs.

Role:  Professional with expertise in this field