The city council of Marana has declared September as “Guardians of the Children Month”.
Guardians of the Children is a non-profit, rider-run organization who come together to enjoy the road and help residents find resources available to prevent child abuse.
The National Organization’s Wild West Chapter has approximately 60 members and serves Pima County and surrounding areas. The aim of the chapter is to recognize and respond to child abuse. The chapter works with the public to educate them on the signs of child abuse. Their website’s mission page states that they “serve as advocates to bring strength and stability to families in crisis and to be an answer to the prayer of an abused child or adolescent for courage, support and protection “.
Bikers choose a road name that has personal meaning. Members of the Wild West Chapter use their road names when they interact with the “Keepers of the Children” missions. It’s to protect members’ friends and family, as much as kids think it’s cool. Wild West Chapter President Hillbilly has a personal passion for helping
“For us it’s families first, jobs second and mission third so we can always make sure we’re together to be there for the kids when they need us,” Hillbilly said. “We want to make sure that if there is a child in need, we can do everything to help them. We went with them when they had to testify in court, and we checked under the bed at night to make sure the bogeyman was not there. No matter what they need, we’ll be there for them.
Wild West members deliver anti-bullying messages to local schools and offer help to children and families in crisis.
Members are committed to devoting time to the children they help. This can range from a few hours a month to daily assistance depending on the situation. Full members must have access to a motorcycle. Support members are not required to have motorcycle access. All members must have a background check before being approved to join.
The Wild West chapter hopes to eventually install friendship benches in schools in Marana. These benches are where a child can sit when they are feeling sad. The other kids on the playground will know that when someone sits there they need a friend. It’s another way for children to ask for the help they need and to expand their circle of support.
Marana regularly works with local groups that help the community. During his 19 years in office, Mayor Ed Honea has sought opportunities to help support the city. He is enthusiastic about the partnership with the “Guardians of the Children”.
“We are always on the lookout for people to help our community,” Honea said. “They are motorcycle enthusiasts who want to help children. Their mission is to help young people stay safe. We are honored to have this group of people in our community.
For more information, check out the Town of Marana website or the Wild West Chapter website.