Amidst the elegant setting of the Azure Dining room at the Vi at Aventura, Florida State Senator Lauren Book spoke about the things that mattered most to her at a recent Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Roundtable luncheon sponsored by Vi at Aventura. AMC Chairman Gary Pyott, Association 1st, welcomed a full house of business leaders and elected officials to the luncheon and introduced Cesar Arguelles, Executive Sales Director of the Vi at Aventura. “Vi at Aventura is just like a resort community that offers top-notch services and amenities, “said Arguelles, “and a full continuum of care that includes assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing should the need arise. Take a look at Vi at Aventura…. we just might transform your perception of what retirement can be. Besides our impressive amenities and services, we offer a robust social lifestyle as every aspect of our community is expressly designed to foster a remarkable retirement.”
Arguelles had the honor of introducing Senator Lauren Book, whose journey has taken her around the world with her message. As a childhood survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of her trusted caretaker, Lauren and her Dad, Ron Book, created Lauren’s Kids Foundation in 2007 to educate adults and children about sexual abuse prevention through in-school curriculum, resources for families, EMMY and ADDY award-winning awareness campaigns and speaking engagements that have taken her worldwide. Lauren founded Lauren’s Kids as a vehicle to prevent childhood sexual abuse and help other survivors heal with guidance and support.
The foundation provides more than ten million education and awareness materials through direct mail each year, with the ultimate goal of preventing sexual abuse through education and awareness. Their Safer, Smarter Schools K-12 curriculum program is currently used in classrooms in 37 states to teach children about personal safety, support survivors and protect children from predators.
In 2013, Lauren was selected as the national winner of the L’Oréal Paris “Women of Worth” held in New York City. Shortly afterwards, a member of the Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce called the AMC office to say, “I’m here in Times Square, and there’s a huge billboard of Lauren here—just amazing!”
And the truth is, Lauren’s journey has been an amazing one. She could have retreated into the shadows, and just lived her life trying her best to recover from her horrific childhood experience. But that was not the path Lauren chose. She chose to speak out, reach out and help others. Her memoir, “It’s OK to Tell” is a story of hope and recovery, challenging commonly -held ideas about sexual abuse.
For the past ten years, Lauren and her supporters lead an annual statewide “Walk in My Shoes” 1,500-mile awareness walk from Key West to Tallahassee, and of course, a stop in Aventura. The foundation has brought their trek to the rotunda of the Florida Capitol, walking non-stop 42+ hours to honor the 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse living in the U.S. today.
Lauren thanked her friends who were there at the luncheon who helped her through the journey of spreading the word and preventing child sexual abuse.…Florida Senator Jason Pizzo, former State Senator Ron Silver, Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, and friends from the Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce who helped with all her 1,500 mile annual walks to Tallahassee.
In 2018, Lauren was elected unopposed to the Florida Senate, District 32. She is currently the Chair of the Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee and sits on the Appropriation; Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; Health Policy; Rules; and the Joint Legislative Budget Commission. She recently filed a bill (SB 1184) to grant a one-year “lookback window” for victims of child sexual abuse, advocating for what could be a watershed moment for survivors of sexual assault by allowing cases with an expired statute of limitations to be brought forth for one year. This bill would also entirely eliminate the civil statute of limitations for sex crimes against children moving forward. This bill is just the latest measure in a package of bills by Lauren as she champions women’s issues, and advocates for survivors of sexual assault.