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Jodi Huisentruit

Jodi Huisentruit

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SARTELL � When Michele Hanson walks into a classroom, she has one goal in mind: to keep children safe from predators.As part of Jodi�s Network of Hope, Hanson teaches second- and third-grade students simple ways to determine who they can trust and how to get out of threatening situations.

A Sartell resident, she is volunteering in elementary schools in Sartell and St.

Cloud.�By educating children and educating people about this, I hope that it�s going to save some lives,� Hanson said.An estimated 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Of that number, about 58,000 are abducted by non-family members.Hanson knows firsthand the harm that predators can do.

She was a childhood friend of Jodi Huisentruit, a Long Prairie native who was abducted in Iowa almost 14 years ago.�I grew up with Jodi.

I knew her since I was 5 years old,� Hanson said.

�When we were young we played Barbies.

When we got older we were on the same golf league.

We all had a special bond.�Network of HopeHuisentruit was 27 years old and working as a news anchor in Mason City, Iowa, when she was abducted from the parking lot of her apartment building on June 27, 1995.

She has not been seen since and the case remains unsolved.Jodi�s Network of Hope was formed on the 10th anniversary of her abduction.

The nonprofit organization was created by a small group of friends, family and concerned citizens who were determined to honor Huisentruit by working to ensure her tragedy would not be repeated.JNOH�s mission is to promote personal safety awareness through education.

It began in 2005 by offering scholarships to sixth-grade students.In 2007 it started delivering safety programs in elementary schools.

This year it expanded its scholarship program to include graduating seniors.

It also will begin offering personal safety training for women this fall.The programs are funded through donations, sponsors and fundraisers.

JNOH has more than 50 sponsors.

It will host its annual fundraiser, the Day of Hope Golf Scramble, on June 12 at the Long Prairie Country Club.
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