The annual Keith Edmonds Foundation Child Awareness Campaign has kicked off, and Edmonds wants to team up with local individuals, groups and businesses to make an impact on child abuse.
Edmonds, a child abuse survivor and awareness advocate, said hundreds of companies and individuals came together through dozens of videos to bring awareness to the cause last year.
“This year is started off strong with Mike Fisher and Austin Watson of the Nashville Predators. If you missed out last year and want to do a video this year or you did one last year and want to participate again, all you have to do is sign up for a slot,” Edmonds said.
The Keith Edmonds Foundation will hold the first Shine the Light event April 29 at Cumberland University. The event will be an upbeat and inspiring day to raise public awareness regarding child abuse.
Edmonds said the event would pay tribute to Josh Osborne, who was the victim of one of the most horrific cases of child abuse in Wilson County.
Edmonds said he would not be remembered for the incident, but for his positive attitude, love of life, big smile and his willingness to forgive.
The Keith Edmonds Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to assist children who have become victims of child abuse and neglect and to empower them through the power of forgiveness, wants to make sure Osborn’s strength and forgiving spirit will continue to live.
Wilson County school children will participate in the family event, and the school with the most students in attendance will be presented an award by the foundation. It was announced last week that the yearly award would be named the Josh Osborne Award as a lasting tribute to the young man who lived his adult life not as a victim, but as a forgiving survivor.
“Josh epitomizes what we stand for and everything we’re trying to accomplish,” Edmonds said.
Osborne was discovered in 2004 in his Lebanon home after he was tied to his bed for nine years and only allowed to have soup and water. The 15 year old only weighed 50 pounds when he was discovered.
After his rescue, he lived with an aunt in LaVergne, graduated from LaVergne High School and later worked at a Goodwill store in Antioch. He was named Goodwill Employee of the Year in 2009.
Edmonds said in spite of his abuse, everyone who knew Osborn said he was always smiling and having a great day.
Osborne’s case was responsible for the enactment of tougher child abuse laws in the state. In 2008, the state legislature passed a law that requires anyone convicted of child abuse to serve his or her full sentence.
The bill was introduced in honor of Osborne, and starvation and dehydration were added to the list of child abuse offenses.
Osborne died in 2014 at 24 years old after struggling with health issue most of his life.
The Keith Edmonds Foundation will hold its first Camp Confidence this summer at Cumberland University. More than 100 children in Wilson County who have open child abuse cases will be served through the camp that will focus on self worth and self-esteem.
Visit keithedmondsfoundation.org to learn about the group’s efforts. Visit calendly.com/awarenesscampaign to schedule a time to make an awareness video.