Spotty Mcgoo has a special message for children and parents. Be aware! Spotty Mcgoo and Friends are a puppet troupe created by Milford resident Yolanda Goldsack that deals with childhood sexual abuse. Yolanda, who had been a stay-at-home mom and active volunteer in the community, had often heard of local children dealing with such issues, but at that point was not clear to her yet how she could help.
Goldsack was incited to action about two years ago after hearing a response from a violent predator who was asked by a television reporter what was the worst thing he thought he had ever done to any of his victims. The convicted felon replied it was probably that he had stolen from them the potential of what they could have been.
Her shock at this response quickly turned into action. Yolanda was eager to find a way to prevent child abuse and keep children safe from predators. She had known survivors of abuse and knew how difficult it was to heal from the damage of this type of victimization and was determined to create a program that could help prevent such incidents.
Spotty Mcgoo was her answer. Armed with a relatable, entertaining idea, Yolanda turned to her husband and son, who were very supportive of her ideas. Son Brian, who majored in psychology, investigated statistics on childhood sexual abuse. He discovered that by the time a predator is caught it is estimated that the offender will have molested anywhere from 2-400 individuals. Mom and son realized this was a mental health epidemic having no definable profile based on race, financial status, job, location, or education.
They learned there was no easy way to spot a predator, soYolanda and Brian created a conversation with the kids through the puppets – Spotty Mcgoo, Barky, and Sparky. Their first production was called ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes’ and focuses on safe touch. The presentation emphasizes ownership (it’s your body) and personal empowerment– to speak up, to assert boundaries, to protect themselves, and to feel safe.
Spotty tells kids that they have a voice. Victims often are convinced that no one will believe them because the offender is a person in authority or well-thought of in their social circle or community or may even be a family member. They also be silenced because of the fear of consequences – that their families could be destroyed or their family members will no longer love them. Misplaced feelings of shame and guilt can also keep victims from coming forward.
Spotty has many supporters in the area and appeared recently at the Child Safety Fair sponsored by Safe Haven of Pike County held at St. Vincent’s Church in April and last weekend at the Family Expo at East Stroudsburg High School promoted by Representative Rosemary Brown.
Spotty also has a very special friend in Pike County Commissioner Rick Caridi. Caridi was asked to be the voice of a puppet named General Sparky McPatton in a video titled, “This is War.” In the video, McPatton’s mission is to eradicate childhood sexual abuse. He is an advocate for vigilance against predators.
Caridi said that he was proud to participate in the project to help kids and feels as a former warden he has seen firsthand the damage that can be done to children and as a grandfather that he has an obligation to do what he can to help out. “This is a ministry to educate parents, individuals in authority, and children. The puppets get the children’s attention.”
Goldsack and her son are currently developing a new program concerning secrets and telling an adult when someone asks them to keep secrets. Predators will often groom their victims by offering them an incentive that they cannot tell anyone else about (a gift, an activity, a ride or other special attention.) Children need to be aware of manipulators and the danger of keeping secrets from their parents.
Spotty Mcgoo’s target audience is ages 3 -10. Spotty goes to schools, churches, daycares, fairs, expos – anywhere children will be present – to share his message with children, parents, and educators and help keep children safe, happy, and healthy. Follow Spotty Mcgoo and Friends on Facebook. “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” can be seen HERE.