Wilson extends helping hand to hurting children

Published 10:46 pm Thursday, April 23, 2009

At first thought, Israel Wilson is a young man with a big heart for kids.

He is the one who initiated the “Blue Ribbon Friday for Kids” tee shirt fundraiser at his workplace, Brundidge Electronics Corporation (BEC). And, he’s the one who is planning to supplement the funds raised by the tee-shirt campaign with a “Change for Kids” project.

But, there’s more to Wilson’s story than first thought.

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“I was in Dothan and just happened to see a flyer for the Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center,” Wilson said. “They were raising money for the center by selling ‘Blue Ribbon Friday for Kids’ tee shirts. I decided that was something that I wanted to get involved with.”

Wilson approached his employer, Johnny Wright, BEC owner, with his idea of selling ‘Blue Ribbon’ tee shirts to his fellow employees and Wright agreed.

“The tee shirts weren’t hard to sell because everybody knew that the money was going for such a good cause – to the prevention of child abuse,” Wilson said.

What some of his co-workers knew but most didn’t was that child abuse is a subject that is all too real for Wilson.

As a child he was abused by his mother and his step-dad.

“They both started drinking and that’s when it started,” Wilson said. “My mother was actually more abusive than my step-dad. When I was 13, my brother, who was nine, and I went into foster care.”

There was little hope of being adopted at age 13, so Wilson reconciled himself to being a foster child. However, after what seemed like forever, there was a couple that showed some interest in him and his brother.

“We would get to go on weekend visits and sometimes we talked about adoption,” but I didn’t think it would ever happen,” Wilson said.

But “miracles” do happen.

At the age of 18, Wilson was adopted.

“That doesn’t happen often,” he said with a smile. “But it happened for me and my brother. It was such a good feeling to know that we had a home and a family that loved us.”

Knowing what it’s like to be in an abusive situation and knowing what it’s like to come out of that situation without bitterness or hatred, Wilson knew that he wanted to do something to make sure that others would have the same chance to heal that he had.

“When I saw that poster, I knew that becoming involved with the Child Advocacy Center was one way that I could help,” he said. “I came up with the idea of ‘Change for Kids.’ I’m planning to put canisters at different locations where people can drop change in to help fund programs at the Child Advocacy Center that are geared toward the prevention of child abuse and programs that provide help for children who are abused.”

Wilson lives in Jack with his adopted family and attends Wallace College where he is studying radiology.

He is also a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Troy.

“I have two ‘littles’ and have been working with the program for about six months,” he said. “I want to help kids any way that I can. By helping to raise money for the prevention of child abuse and being a Big Brother, maybe I can do something that makes a difference.”