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Chelsea’s Light Shines On

Published

Four years after the devastating news that 17-year-old Chelsea King’s body had been found, and that her murderer was a convicted sex offender, the King family continues to be a beacon of hope and strength in the fight against child predators. Brent and Kelly King, Chelsea’s parents, not only changed the laws that allowed sex offenders to walk free, but created the Chelsea’s Light Foundation, through which the California-approved Chelsea’s Law is now moving into other states, mandating that sex offenders who commit violent crimes against minors are given mandatory life sentences without parole.

While Kelly and Brent work daily for change, it is Chelsea’s younger brother Tyler, now 17 years old himself, finding his own voice to impact awareness as he writes and directs a documentary about his sister and families who have suffered similar horrors.  “My goal is to have the film become a vision,” he says,  “and voice for change in the United States. I just hope through this project that laws are passed to protect the lives of all kids across the country.”

Working alongside Hollywood director Bruce Caulk, Tyler’s film is just one part of a media awareness campaign that involves a downloadable app linking viewers to the Chelsea’s Light Foundation where they can lend their voices to the cause.  “The film is essentially the driving force for the app,” he explains.  “The app will provide a platform, almost like a Chelsea’s Light social media site, in which everyone can connect, find resources, and spearhead this movement.”

Technically a minor himself, Tyler says all his work has put him in the mind of attending college for both journalism and nonprofit management, and that he embraces being the voice of a movement the world can rally behind.

The most powerful part about making this film is, without a doubt, the people I’ve met,” he says.  “My interactions with the individuals and families I have interviewed have touched my life. I have met and talked with rape victims, families of slain children, law enforcement officials, and many others across the United States. My time with them has changed my life and given me new perspectives and outlooks on life.”

While Tyler finishes his film, Brent and Kelly prepare for their foundation’s annual Finish Chelsea’s Run event in Balboa Park on March 1, a 5K race and fun run/walk featuring children’s activities, entertainment, and more. Proceeds from the event go to support the Chelsea’s Light Foundation, which provides numerous services for children, such as college scholarships and the Chelsea’s Light Peer Corps.

 “Chelsea felt a strong sense of responsibility in making a difference rather than being a passive observer,” says Kelly.  “Our foundation was created to honor and carry on her desire to change the world in ways that would reflect this. Today, almost four years later, we are working on expanding our existing Peer Counseling and scholarship programs, and last year we awarded over $60,000 in scholarships to amazing San Diego County kids.”

Through her family’s inspirational work, Chelsea’s Light indeed still shines. (www.chelseaslight.org)       RYAN THOMAS

Brent, Tyler, and Kelly King
Brent, Tyler, and Kelly King

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