NEWTOWN, Conn. -- With their skull T-shirts, leather vests, bandanas and tattoos, the members of Bikers Against Child Abuse in Newtown may seem intimidating on the outside. But on the inside, their message is just the opposite.
B.A.C.A. is a nonprofit organization that provides aid, comfort, safety and support for children who have been sexually, physically and emotionally abused.
To protect their privacy, all B.A.C.A. members keep their identities anonymous, and select a child-friendly name. Members include Cookie, Poppy, Cowboy and Smoky Bear.
Members must be bikers and must be ready to assist B.A.C.A. children 100 percent of the time, according to "Irish," president of the Newtown Chapter.
"All we care about it to empower the child," Irish said. "Our mission is if a child needs us, we will show up."
According to Irish, "When kids ask for us to come to their home at 3 a.m. because they are afraid of a perpetrator, we go. We come on our motorcycles and stand in their driveway and the kid can look out his window and see us there. Having our presence there makes the child feel better."
In addition to becoming a presence in the life of an abused child, B.A.C.A. members also attend court proceedings and parole hearings with them, and escort them to and from school or errands.
"Nine out of ten kids who go to court in child abuse cases don't testify because they're afraid of facing their perpetrator. But our kids see us in the courtroom and have the courage to testify," Irish said.
"Baloo," B.A.C.A.'s sergeant at arms, said he gets a lot out of his involvement with the organization. "It's a second calling. I enjoy giving back and providing a service for these children."
Irish said, "I just don't like bullies. I think adults who pick on children are the worst kind of bullies.
B.A.K.A. holds meetings at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of every month. The next meeting is Aug. 8. Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. For more information on B.A.C.A., click here .
The Bikers Against Child Abuse Western Connecticut Chaper is at 18 Tinkerfield Road in Newtown.
Parents, guardians, police and childcare agencies refer children to B.A.C.A., which is funded by donations from the public.
B.A.C.A., which recently opened the Western Connecticut chapter in Newtown, has chapters throughout the world. Previously, the closest B.A.C.A. chapter was in Brooklyn.