It’s Better To Be Safe Than Sorry
As a parent, your biggest fear is something bad happening to your child. That is why we take every precaution to help keep our children protected. We teach them right from wrong in hopes that when the time comes to know the difference they are equipped to make the right decision. Unfortunately, there are instances out of a parents control when a child goes missing or runs away from home. That is why the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts created the Child ID program-MYCHIP. MYCHIP stands for Masonic Youth Child Identification Program which as identified over 275,000 children since its beginning which dates back to 1988. What this program does it help equip parents with the materials law enforcement needs to aid in the search for their missing children. Materials including videotapes, fingerprinting, teeth impressions and a quick cheek swab for DNA are all essential tools in locating and identifying children reported lost or missing. God forbid your child goes missing, having all the necessary materials ready to hand over to the police will save valuable time during a time when every second counts.This is why the people of the MYCHIP program have toured the state of Massachusetts and hosted over 3,245 events in which they offer these services for free. Just recently, on July 23rd of 2011, MYCHIP services were available at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield Massachusetts at no cost. Families were welcomed into the Hall of Fame and directed into a conference room in which they had team members readily accessible to assist those looking to register their children with the MYCHIP program. They recorded the child’s weight and height before sending them into another area for further registration. While children waited for the second phase of registration, amusements including local clowns and balloon artists circled the room entertaining the children while they waited for their turn. During the second stage of registration, a program team member video taped the child speaking to document the mannerisms and voice of the child while asking certain questions to prompt conversation. Fingerprints were taken digitally and the child’s photo was taken from every which angle you could imagine to better assist in identifying the child’s appearance from any viewpoint. The information gathered at this phase was then burned onto a CD-ROM disc and distributed to the parents to hold onto.
Once the second phase was completed, families were directed into another location where children were asked to open their mouths for a quick tooth print bite impression and a cheek swab. Both the cheek swab and the tooth print bite impressions are very helpful when looking for missing children as teeth are very unique to each person. Children were rewarded with dental grab bags including a toothbrush and tooth paste and stickers for their cooperation. The impressions as well as the cheek swab, were then given back to the parents for safe keeping. The information gathered at this event was given back to the parents so that in the event of a child disappearing, parents could provide officials with the information they needed in a much simpler and convenient way. As mentioned before, when you are a parent you try and protect your child in any way that you can. With the MYCHIP program, this helps equip parents with the necessary information needed to assist in finding a missing child in an easier way at a very difficult time.
To learn more about the MYCHIP program and to find events near you visit their website for more information.