GREENWICH, Conn. — Pointing out that over four million children are at risk of separation from their parents, Jody Bell, 16, launched her venture, In Case of Deportation or I.C.O.D., Girls with Impact, on July 17.
Bell developed her venture as part of Girls With Impact, a 12-week “mini-MBA” where teen girls create businesses, nonprofits or projects to impact their career and college success (watch Jody’s venture pitch here).
“Many children have nowhere to turn when that moment comes when someone knocks on your door and suddenly takes your parents away,” said Bell, a junior at Greenwich High, noting that 2,000 children were reportedly separated from their families. “Our hope is that I.C.O.D. will be that go-to resource with the latest information and guidance through their eyes.”
The online resource at www.icodhelp.org provides actionable information for children 8-18, including a Child Preparedness Plan. The platform is being integrated into several school districts, including New Rochelle Schools and Greenwich Schools.
Top questions the site addresses include:
- What is deportation?
- What steps should a child take if parents are suddenly deported?
- What are a child’s options if parents are deported?
“Girls like Jody are looking to solve big problems facing our world,” said CEO Jennifer Openshaw, a nationally known financial expert, author and Silicon Valley entrepreneur. “By equipping them today as tomorrow’s CEOs, we improve their success, our communities, and our workplaces.”
Girls With Impact, a nonprofit, is the nation’s only entrepreneurship program just for teen girls. It can even be delivered live from the home or road. The after-school, extra-curricular program drives exceptional results in confidence, empowerment, college prep and career readiness, including STEM areas. Apply at www.girlswithimpact.com.
* * * A 24-year-old illegal immigrant spent several weeks trying to romantically pursue a 15-year-old Texas girl, eventually kidnapping the teen — a distant relative — at her birthday party and taking her to Georgia for sex, prosecutors say.
Andres Castaneda-Guzman, of Mexico, pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping a minor and transporting her across state lines for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual activity. He was charged in the incident last week.
“This kidnapping and sexual assault of a minor is stunning,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak in a statement on Tuesday, adding that prosecuting violent crime, including child exploitation, is a top priority for the U.S. Department of Justice.