Meet Mack: biker, advocate for abused children, and a speaker at MWM’s Matrix V: Superhero Edition Regional Gathering.
Some speakers capture your attention gently while others roar in like a … well, like a guy on a motorcycle!
We asked Mack to tell us a bit more about his organization, and he cheerfully obliged.
Q: While there are many charity rides and locals are certainly familiar with rallies like Rolling Thunder, B.A.C.A. operates a little differently. Can you tell us how B.A.C.A. works?
The groups you mentioned—and many other motorcycle-based organizations—do a good job of raising funds and awareness for worthy causes. Schedules permitting, B.A.C.A.® members often participate in events sponsored by such groups. B.A.C.A.® also works to raise awareness of the terrible plague of child abuse. Our primary mission, however, is to work directly with abused children, to support and empower them to overcome the crippling fear that child abuse causes and to help them heal and have a normal life.
Q: What kind of training or preparation do your volunteers complete before they can become full-fledged members of B.A.C.A.?
B.A.C.A.® training is ongoing. We have an annual conference that gathers members from all over the world to learn about the job they’ve taken on. Regional B.A.C.A.® conferences bring in recognized experts from fields like law enforcement, prosecution, forensic nursing, counseling and others to update members on the latest information relevant to their mission. Monthly chapter meetings often feature speakers from law enforcement, the courts and social services. B.A.C.A.® members also attend training and education events sponsored by other agencies.
Q: How do learn about kids who want your help?
Abused children are referred to B.A.C.A.® by law enforcement and social service agencies, by prosecutor’s offices, by health-care facilities, schools and other organizations that deal with children.
Q: Are the kids you help ever afraid of the bikers?
Sometimes, initially, they are. In almost every case, however, the kids very quickly recognize that these intimidating people are there for them. In my experience, it rarely takes more than five minutes for that transformation to occur.
Q: Does your group work with the police or courts?
On first contact, police, prosecutors and judges are usually skeptical about us, if not openly hostile. Not surprising, since we look like people they deal with as adversaries. They very quickly learn, however, that we are there solely to empower abused children, that we have no personal agenda. After that happens, they most often become our most enthusiastic supporters. As one veteran cop told me, “We love you guys, because you do what we can’t.”
Q: How many members participate in your local chapter?
We do not have non-participating members. Participate or leave. Chapter sizes vary greatly, but numbers are largely irrelevant: all members are available to respond to any situation in which they are needed, irrespective of location. It is not unusual for a child visit to involve members from as many as eight chapters from four states. As far as we’re concerned, distance is just an excuse to ride, and that’s something we live for.
Q: How many kids do you currently work with in your local chapter?
The number of kids we are privileged to serve fluctuates constantly. We sometimes have each member dealing with as many as half a dozen kids. If our membership were to expand ten-fold, we still would not have enough people to take care of all the children who need us.
Q: If a family wants to work with B.A.C.A. to get help, who should they contact?
A family can contact us directly by going to the website, bacaworld.org, and finding the chapter nearest them. In areas where we are well established, local law enforcement and social service agencies will probably be able to steer families to us.
Thanks, Mack! We look forward to seeing you speak at the RG.