Florence Center ice skating benefits group fighting human trafficking

Pee Dee

FLORENCE. S.C. (WBTW) — If you haven’t tried it yet, there is one week left to go ice skating at the Florence Center, an annual Pee Dee tradition that will help a nonprofit group working to fight human trafficking.

Volunteers from One Child at a Time are running the rink at the Florence Center, and the organization will get some of the proceeds.

“It’s been a great success,” Glenda Skipper, founder and CEO of One Child at a Time, said.

“We have had local kids volunteer and hand out skates,” she said. “It’s been such a rewarding experience.”

Skipper said her research shows that about 30% of Florence 1 Schools students have been contacted by a child predator over the internet. She hopes the partnership will help the organization raise awareness and expand its curriculum to help more children recognize the signs of human trafficking.

“Afraid to speak, looking at the ground, having large amounts of cash,” Skipper said. “A trafficker or online predator will try to isolate their potential victim from family and friends. Those are some signs you need to watch out for.”

One of the volunteers was Blake Hudson, an eighth-grader at Spaulding Middle School who is working to get community service hours for the Civil Air Patrol.

“I thought it was really cool how they help, so I thought I should come out and help,” Hudson said.

He showed up to his shift early to get some time on the ice and teach his little sister how to skate.

“The skating on the ice and trying not to fall is a little bit hard,” Lilly Hudson said. “He skates, and I just follow.”

Skipper said she is excited for the partnership and hopes it will help her organization make a difference.

“Anything we receive is a blessing, and it goes to further educate children on how to be safe online,” Spaulding said.

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