When Santa Rosa Beach musician Geoff McBride first heard the song "Wipe Away a Tear," written by the Grammy award-winning Jerry Peters, he immediately knew it would be the perfect platform for his advocacy against child abuse.
"It's just a beautiful song," McBride said. "I thought the song was really cool and told my good friend and producer, Trammell Starks, this would be a good campaign against child abuse."
Last year, McBride recorded the soulful ballad for his album "Journey to the Soul" and even recorded a music video.
"We shot in Nashville for two days," the singer said. "The first part of shooting, it was nice and sunny, and then it started to rain. I told the crew to keep shooting. It fit perfect with the title 'Wipe Away a Tear.' It was very spiritual."
But McBride has made "Wipe Away a Tear" more than a song and video. Two months ago, McBride launched wipawayatear.org, a website dedicated to the Florida Network of Children's Advocacy Centers. You can learn more about child abuse prevention, see a list of advocacy centers in Florida, and donate to the cause. A $35 donation not only goes towards keeping Florida children safe, but you will receive McBride's album "Journey to the Soul," and a Wipe Away a Tear t-shirt. And since April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, now is the perfect time to act.
"I hope people will visit the site and open their hearts and see that here's a worthy cause," McBride said.
It was three years ago that McBride first met with Julie Hurst, executive director of Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center. The non-profit organization serves Okaloosa and Walton County through housing law enforcement, prosecution professionals, therapists, social workers and a child protection team working under one roof to better serve child victims of abuse. All services are free of charge.
"I met with Julie and toured the facility and I just thought, 'This is a great organization,'" McBride said. "I don't endorse things unless I'm really involved and take the issue to heart. It jerked my heart when I saw the kids."
McBride's work with the organization even earned him the Kieran May Award at the ECCAC Kieran May Memorial Golf and Gala Weekend in March.
"I thought I was just going to the gala to say hello and then they gave me an award," said McBride with a laugh.
Since volunteering his time — and sometimes his voice — to the cause, McBride has recruited his family, wife Lisa, son, Hunter and daughters, Zoe, River and Zuri, to help out as well.
"My wife and I want our kids to appreciate what they have," McBride said. "So many kids that don't have love and that is so sad. The most beautiful thing in this world is kids."
McBride's talents span further than Walton County. The North Carolina-born artist has recorded with the major record label, Arista, and was a contestant on "The Voice" in 2012, with his successful career McBride has fans across the country. He plans to use his star power wisely.
"I want to take this thing nationwide," he said of the "Wipe Away a Tear" campaign. "And then worldwide."
WIPE AWAY A TEAR: Visit www.wipeawayatear.org, to purchase Geoff McBride's latest CD featuring the heartfelt tune, "Wipe Away a Tear."