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Polly’s Story

During a slumber party in October of 1993, 12-year-old Polly Hannah Klaas was abducted at knifepoint from her Petaluma, California home. Thousands of residents from the surrounding community immediately responded with the largest manhunt in American history. Hundreds of selfless volunteers abandoned normal daily routines for 65 days. They answered countrywide calls, read thousands of letters and searched for Polly. A mass distribution of 2 billion images of Polly was sent worldwide. She had soon become a symbol of love and lost innocence.

The world froze one cold evening in December when the media reported that Polly, America’s Child, the beautiful girl with the warm brown eyes shown smiling in home videos for millions of TV viewers, was not found alive. The country was outraged. The public cried out for change in legislation and pro-action in crime prevention.

“Polly was faced with a choice few people ever have to make,” said her father, Marc Klaas. “By putting herself in mortal danger to protect her family and friends, Polly has become my greatest teacher.” Marc Klaas immediately dove into a campaign to put children higher on the national priority list. With no prior media, political or public speaking experience, he immediately became savvy in affecting proactive legislation, and sought to advocate children’s issues and speak out on crime prevention.

Within a year the KlaasKids Foundation was formed.