What do you know of the NY Masonic Safety ID Program
As parents, the MSID Executive Committee Members cannot imagine anything more difficult than not knowing where your children are or how they are being treated. Every day across America, children are abducted by family members, acquaintances, and strangers. Families traumatized by abduction are faced with the simultaneous challenge of quickly gathering all available resources to recover their missing child while dealing with the devastation of their loss.
The first several hours after a child, elderly, or disabled person is reported missing can be critical to the successful outcome of the case. Having valuable information about the Child (missing person) ready and at hand for Law enforcement agencies is imperative. The MSID’s FREE Program is designed to help parents with having this information ready and available when needed.
It is fairly common knowledge from members around the District that the NY Masonic Safety ID (MSID) Program exists and to a lesser extent what it is exactly.
So considering winter will be officially over in a few days and in a few weeks the weather should be improving and more and more children will be outside. We thought it fitting that we should remind all of the MSID program, what it is and what it does. More importantly why this program needs all of our support.
The snippet of MSID’s history here is taken from their own website and you can find that HERE.
In 1991 Grand Master, M∴ W∴ Richard P. Thomas requested that his District Deputies come up with ideas for programs that the Grand Lodge could adopt to enhance Masonry. The founder of the Child ID Program was R∴ W∴ Kenneth Wagner, who was Queens District Deputy at the time. The idea came to him while watching America’s Most Wanted. On this program the host, John Walsh, was talking about missing children and he mentioned that parents should keep a videotape of their children for identification purposes in case their child should become missing. R∴ W∴ Ken took the Child ID videotaping idea to the Grand Master who thought it had potential and requested that R∴ W∴ William Bontempts form a committee to develop the idea. A pilot videotape session was conducted on Dec. 7, 1991 at St Paul’s Episcopal Church in College Point, Queens, NY. The public response to the program was spectacular. In order to determine if the results of the first session represented the program’s potential, additional sessions were conducted with the same results. Grand Master Thomas embraced the program and set about establishing a Grand Lodge Committee to oversee the program. Read More.
Their mission is simple…keep children and seniors safe and in case of emergency be prepared to find find these children and seniors quickly. So the mission of the MSID as stated:
- Provide a vital Community Service
- Aid in the recovery of a lost or missing Child
- Aid in the recovery of a lost Senior Citizen
- Encourage Masons to become involved in their communities
- Promote a positive image of Masonry in our communities, broadening public awareness and recognition of Masonry as an involved community organization
Our MW Grand Master Jeffrey Williamson stated the following about the MSID program in NY.
Masons are stepping up efforts to identify children at risk through a renewed emphasis on two of the most relevant programs offered by the Masons through their community outreach programs. He made this commitment this past weekend in the wake of the senseless mall and school shootings. “If these troubled young people had been identified, it is probable that these murders would not have occurred,” he said. “This is the right thing to do!!”
Most Worshipful Williamson indicated that the funds to support these programs would come from the Grand Master’s allocation from the Masonic Brotherhood Fund, a tax exempt 501 (c) 3 charity. He is asking individual Masons, family’s members and friends, as well as Lodges, Districts and Masonic Foundations, to renew their support of these vital programs through donations to the current Masonic Brotherhood Fund campaign and earmarked for the Grand Master’s Allocation. Grand Master Williamson indicated he has the whole hearted support of R∴ W∴ Charles Catapano, Deputy Grand Master, in this effort and the Deputy Grand Master has pledged to work to continue and expand this program.
MSAT is a pioneering program developed by Masons in a number of states through the National Foundation for Children. For many years, NY Past Grand Master Carl Smith was the Chairman of the Board of the NFFC. He has this to say about this program, “MSAT makes a difference; since our first workshop in October, 2001, more than 2,300 New York educators have attended The MSAT Workshops; studies show that for every educator who received the training, more than 7 students each year receive help. This is one of the most effective systems for saving students at risk, and New York Masons are recognized as supporting this effort.”
The concept is to teach school administrators, teachers, counselors and other school personnel who interface with children, to recognize kids at risk … children at risk because of peer abuse, sexual abuse, parental abuse, drug abuse and many of the other social causes which lead them to go astray. Once recognized, these children can then be offered the help they so desperately need through professional community based agencies.
The Masonic Safety ID program is one of the most active Masonic projects in the state with most Lodges actively participating. The concept is to provide parents and guardians with a compact disc with digital photographs, finger prints and all vital statistics to aid police through the Amber Alert Program when a child goes missing. According to statistics, some 20,000 children go missing in New York State alone each year.
So you can see how important this program is. As the weather warms and more children are outside playing as children should, remember to support this worthy program with your time and generosity. I have brought my children to many of these events in past years and have worked at a few as well.
It’s rather smooth and easy to get your children recorded in case of the unthinkable. It only takes a few minutes and most kids I have watched go through, as well as my own sit still for the photos and fingerprint scan.
When these events are announced please do your best to respond and volunteer a few hours to support the event and make it a success. It does not take much and the reward is priceless.