Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) gave a well-attended presentation in the UVU Grande Ballroom on March 31 in an effort to raise awareness regarding issues of violence and neglect towards children.
BACA was established by John Paul Chief Lilly, a licensed clinical social worker, play therapist and part-time faculty member at Brigham Young University.
His professional expertise had him dealing largely in the treatment of abused children which is how he recognized the need for BACA.
Their first ride was held in 1995 when they visited battered children and embraced them as members of their biker family. As a non-profit organization, BACA exists to provide safety and funded therapy to children.
“Many people have misconceptions about our organization because of the biker stereotype, but we aren’t a cliché biker club,” said Chris Fillmore, a BACA member. “We are from all different walks of life. Our members vary from conservative LDS temple workers to more secular individuals who all wanted to get involved and do our part to help the children.”
The organization is growing quickly with 142 chapters across the U.S. and others in Australia. To become a member, one must be at least 18, have access to a motorcycle, pass a background check, ride as a supporter for two years and be unanimously voted in by the BACA Board of Directors.
“Child abuse is so ghastly that everyone should feel the compulsion to get involved,” said Roger Wise, a BACA member and secondary education professor at UVU. “Seeing a child’s smile and knowing that they feel secure is motivation enough.”
BACA relies solely on donations and volunteerism from the community because it violates their philosophy to charge dues to support the happiness of a child. Those interested in contributing or researching their cause can visit www.bacausa.com
Students with a history of abuse can obtain psychological counseling at the Student Health Services Department at UVU. To schedule an appointment either call (801) 863-8876 or visit their office at SC 221. The first appointment is free and each additional visit will cost $10 unless financial burden can be proven in which case there will be no charge.