Child safety advocate turns attention to Millennium Fund
Fran Doll knows firsthand what it's like for a child to need help.
Raised by alcoholic parents, she often turned to her grandparents for love and protection. Now, as an adult, the Fairlawn resident and Millennium Fund donor is determined to keep other kids safe from harm.
"I had a really rough childhood, so I have great compassion for children and what they have to go through," she said.
It wasn't until 2006 that Fran found a way to use her passion to benefit children throughout Summit County. While on vacation in Florida, she was horrified to hear the story of Jessica Lunsford, a 9-year-old girl who was abducted, raped and buried alive.
"When I saw that on TV, I was furious," Fran said. "I thought, 'There's got to be a stop to all this.'"
Soon after, Fran founded Grandparents Against Sex Predators with the goal of training volunteers to find abducted children. In the years following, GASP – which now stands for Guardians Advocating Child Safety and Protection – has grown to address a wide variety of children's safety issues, including bullying and Internet security.
Thanks to GASP, thousands of parents have also received free child identification kits with their child's digital fingerprints, physical information and photos. In the event of an abduction, the disc can be sent straight to the FBI to help them locate the missing child.
In the last seven years, this grassroots program has flourished, in part through support from the Millennium Fund. Now, Fran is giving back to the fund with gifts of her own.
"There are so many children who need protection," she said. "By giving to the Millennium Fund, I can show children that people care about them – people who don't even know them."