In honor of National Missing Children's Day today, a nonprofit group dedicated to finding runaway and abducted children and reuniting them with their families will host an open house at its first Southern California office in Valley Village.
During the open house, which runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., the National Missing Children's Locate Center will offer free anti-abduction classes for children and parents, child fingerprints with North Hollywood Division police officers, and food and photo opportunities for families with celebrities from popular television dramas.
Although the National Missing Children's Locate Center already has offices in Northern California and Portland, Ore., among other places, opening a Los Angeles office was a natural decision, said Bruce Kuhn, the Southern California regional director.
"Any kid who runs away west of the Mississippi winds up in one of three cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles or San Diego, with Los Angeles getting the majority," he said.
Dedicated solely to finding missing children, the group never turns down a family, Kuhn said. "We don't charge them any money for any investigative work we do, for child recoveries or for psychological help the family may need."
To raise funds, the group is selling a 68-page coupon book for a $10 donation at the Valley Village office and at many area supermarkets, drugstores and toy stores. On every page, the book has a photograph of a missing child believed to be in the Southern California area.
Every Saturday between 11 a.m. and noon, the center also hosts the anti-abduction classes, which include role-playing for children and a video of dos and don'ts for answering doors, visiting parks and walking to school.
Today's open house will be held at 12500 Riverside Drive in Valley Village.
For information, call (818) 506-4222. The group's sightings hotline is (800) 999-7846.