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Pedal, Pogo or Paddle?

Paddle Boarders, Rob Rojas and Kyle Mochizuki, put their paddle where their mouth is.

What do biking 1,200 miles, pogo-sticking 26 miles and paddle boarding for 24 hours have in common (besides a whole lot of energy that I don’t have)?

All three are ways for people to tread against human trafficking through the organization called Love146. Love146’s “Treading on Trafficking” event has people all around the country, and in our area, doing their thing—be it pogo sticking, hiking or walking—gathering sponsors and getting the word out about their cause.

Earlier this week San Juan Capistrano resident and Fullerton firefighter Kyle Mochizuki and San Clemente resident Rob Rojas, a California Department of Fish and Game Warden, each paddled for 24 hours straight at Dana Point Harbor, around the island, on behalf of Love146.

"When I learned about the horror and prevalence of human trafficking, I felt like I had to do something. I felt pretty overwhelmed. I don't know a thing about how to stop it," said Mochizuki. "But one thing I do know how to do is paddle. When I heard that Rob had organized this event to raise money and awareness, I decided that I would keep him company."

Their cause isn’t an easy one to stomach: raising awareness against the child sex slavery trade.

Love146.org’s vision may be worded simply but by no means easy to execute. According to the organization's website, it is: "the abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation. Nothing less.”  

What you’ll also find on the website is a video explaining how the founders came up with the name, Love146. A story about the fight to survive through the eyes of a child sex slave, seen up close and real, is hard to ignore. Her name? Child #146.

And it is for little girl, #146, that local families are putting on our walking shoes.

There have been kid-friendly hikes and walks and swims all over town these past few weeks. Hiking the San Juan to San Clemente ridge and back have been great lessons and cause for conversations with our families.

, Tracy Stay, recalled recently a conversation with her 11-year-old daughter: “She told me about how she learned about the Emancipation Proclamation and how Abraham Lincoln helped end slavery by signing it” Stay said. “But [my daughter] wanted to raise her hand and correct her teacher and tell her that there are more slaves in today than when the proclamation was signed.”

Having conversations like that with our kids and putting one foot in front of the other to bring awareness to issues that are hard to face are practical and easy ways to make a difference right here in beautiful San Juan Capistrano.

From May 1st until today, there are people committed to raising many in many forms. There is a biker from the East Coast committed to riding 1,200 miles, and, I'm not kidding, someone bouncing 26 miles on a pogo stick.

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