A Letter from Patty Wetterling

A Letter from

Patty Wetterling

Dear Friends,

I believe in a world where all kids can grow up safe and follow their dreams. I always have believed in this type of world. Jacob did too. We both knew that there are more good people in the world than bad. Over the past 30 years, I have continued to witness that when good people pull together, amazing things happen.

So much of our parenting seems to dwell on teaching kids what not to do. Don’t poke your fingers in electrical sockets, don’t run with scissors. Don’t throw snowballs at someone’s face, you may take their eye out! Don’t bite your nails, don’t crack your knuckles, don’t hit, no biting, don’t post personal
information online.

When Jacob was found and his murderer sentenced, it was a horrible and dark time. Our friend Maura who works at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reached out to the staff at JWRC wondering about Jacob’s soccer jersey number. Her nephew’s soccer team in Maryland wanted to honor Jacob by wearing his number 11. Her call created a shift in thinking, celebrating how Jacob lived instead of reliving how he died. JWRC staff worked with our family to distribute a list of #11forJacob, 11 traits that Jacob lived. Our hearts were warmed by these eleven attributes because they truly do describe our Jacob. I have heard from people all over the country who have embraced Jacob’s eleven and initiated programs in their schools and recreation centers, restaurants and businesses, even police stations have posted them. Law enforcement also believe that if we raised our youth with these actions and behaviors, they wouldn’t end up in the criminal justice system. I believe that if all of us were to live by these simple guidelines, we could create the world that is free of sexual harm and victimization.

Jerry and I are so proud of the work of the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center. We encourage you to support this lifesaving work to build a world where kids can grow up safe and follow their dreams. The world that Jacob knew and believed in. Share these simple eleven traits. Strive to live by them. Teach them to the children in your lives. Talk about them.

All of our hopes and actions can be what ignites the fire to build the world that is free from abduction and sexual exploitation and where kids can grow up safe and follow their dreams.

As Douglas Wood said in his song Jacob’s Hope “We know if it’s to happen, we must make it so…” Let’s build a safer world starting with these simple eleven attributes. We got this.


Patty Wetterling

Jerry & Patty Wetterling, July 2019

11 Simple Traits that Jacob lived.