Child abuse prevention near and dear to Basin Electric employee’s heart

Shauna pic

Shauna Laber and her daughter, Zara.

Shauna Laber has a successful career as a senior property and right-of-way specialist for Basin Electric. She was also elected to the city of Mandan, North Dakota’s city commission nearly four years ago, and is a loving wife and mother to boot. With these commitments, all of which she is truly devoted to, she also serves on the board of directors for a cause that is near and dear to her heart – Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota.

The drive behind Laber’s service is personal.

Laber was adopted through the foster care system and has seen the damage childhood abuse can bring to families and communities. “It’s only by the grace of God and my adoptive parents that I didn’t become a statistic,” Laber says. A statistic like many foster children who, as parents, end up repeating the same behaviors they learned as children, and living the same lifestyles they saw their parents living. “It is a vicious cycle.”

Advocating for the safety of children is a core value for Laber, and she does this through Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse before it starts.

“The old adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is totally true,” she says. “Once kids are exposed to abuse to the extent they are removed from the home, they are really hard to fix. They don’t know what ‘good’ looks like. I can tell you it’s a lot better and the odds of success are higher to take action on the front end. It’s much less expensive than welfare, foster care, counseling, medical bills, possibly jail, and everything else that goes into trying to ‘fix’ a broken child, who will then turn into a broken adult. Child abuse has a huge fiscal and social impact.”

Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota’s goal is to reduce child abuse and neglect and the effects it has on individuals and society by 100 percent.

A few of the ways it works to do this are:

  • Working with North Dakota’s OB/gyn doctors to give information to expectant mothers during their prenatal visits
  • Sending educational materials home from the hospital with new parents about what to expect from their babies, and providing them with the resources available to help them through difficult times they will likely face
  • Holding parenting classes
  • Providing personal home visits for targeted individuals

Shauna believes the goal of eradicating child abuse in North Dakota is achievable, but will take education, time, and support from the public. “Everyone can make a difference in the life of a child,” she says. “I serve on the board as my way of giving back, but there are so many ways to do your part. You could be a foster parent, be a mentor or friend to a child who may be having a hard time at home, or just talk to someone who you think may be struggling – don’t avoid talking to them because it is uncomfortable.”

Another way to support the cause is through financial contributions. On April 6, Basin Electric is taking part in “Wear Blue Day,” which is part of Child Abuse Prevention Month. Employees are encouraged to wear blue to show their support of child abuse prevention, and contributions for the day’s Jeans Day fund will support the efforts of Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota. People will share photos of themselves wearing blue on social media using #wearbluedaynd and #greatchildhoods.

“You don’t have to do a lot to be an advocate,” Shauna says. “Just taking an extra minute to say or do something kind can make all the difference in the world to a child or family who may be struggling. It was the kindness of others that got me to where I am today.”

Wear Blue - Prevent Child Abuse ND_reduced image size

Basin Electric employees participated in “Wear Blue Day,” part of child Abuse Prevention Month, on April 6.

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