(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) There is a special group of St. Joseph bikers who ride for more than the feeling of the open road. They ride for kids who are working to overcome abuse. The Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) go to court with kids who testify against their abusers in court.
"When they go to court we will go to court with them so they feel empowered and so they don't have to be afraid of the perpetrator or feel intimidated in a courtroom setting," said BACA member Kip Wilson.
Kip "Road Runner" Wilson has been a member of BACA for the past eight years. He's been president of the chapter that watches over kids in Buchanan County since last year.
"I've always wanted to help kids and I love bikes so this was something I knew I wanted to do," said Wilson.
BACA members provide stable support for children who have been through trauma or abuse by bringing them into their biker family.
"If they are big enough and their parents say yes we'll give them a little bit of a ride. We also give them a vest and a "road name" that they pick and the become part of our family," said Wilson.
They serve as a source to ease fear, and as someone to talk to any time, or any place.
"When you can see a kid smile and maybe even laugh with you it feels great because a lot of these kids haven't smiled for a while," said Wilson, "it's good to see them make progress and not be scared because that is what BACA is all about."
BACA is an international organization founded in 1995 with over 30 locations worldwide. In addition to walking with and standing behind kids testifying in court, the organization partners with child safety groups throughout the country. Members of Wilson's chapter work with the Voices of Courage in St. Joseph.
To celebrate this year's Crime Victims Awareness Week and Child Abuse Awareness Month, BACA members joined Voices of Courage at the Buchanan County Court House Tuesday to plant pinwheels for children helped by Voices of Courage in the past year.