When Beth Klein focused on her high school studies at Palmer High School she had an early peek at her future; it was a peek at world peace.
“When I was in high school I learned about Betty Williams.” Williams is the co-recipient of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Community of Peace People (only to mention one of her many activities to work for children and world peace.) “She’s still one of my friends,” said Klein. Learning about Williams sparked a passion in Klein.
While at Truman University Klein applied and was awarded a Rotary International Scholarship that enabled her to study in Galway. She went there because “It was there that the peace process could be taught. I wanted to study peace,” she summed up the point. “I learned that you can accomplish something by working together. Both sides can come out positively.” It is that belief that drives Klein today.
Not only does she bring this philosophy into her daily work as a lawyer, but also into the work of her foundation which she and her husband founded, ‘Children’s Angels.’ “The foundation works to support abused children who are involved in the court system.”
Klein credits her parents for influencing her to work for the good of others. “My mother was a teacher and my father was a principal. They encouraged different learning styles and recognized that they needed to serve many children. I definitely grew up in an education oriented family, determined to give skills to others.”
Fast forward in her own education, Klein stated the reason she chose to attend law school at the University of Denver was due to “Ved Nanda, Professor of International Law who works with (former U.S. Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright.” Klein added with delight, “You know that Dr. Korbel, Madeleine’s dad, founded the School of International Studies.” She added, “I believe that you don’t have to be in London or Hong Kong…You can be anywhere and make change.” Those are wise words to live by, and words that Klein follows loyally.
Recently she was the driving force to transport 150 Haitian orphans (who had already completed the extensive adoption process) out of the earthquake dangers and safely to their new families in the United States. “I had lawyers, doctors, court clerks and many others contacting me, each wanting to know how they could help. My challenge became how to deal with it all.” Her passion to help these children was sudden and successful. But the real cause that is in her heart today is that of working to stop child trafficking.
What is shocking to most people is the fact that trafficking occurs much closer to home than any of us wish to think. It begins with high pregnancy rates for teenagers and homeless teenagers becoming prey to traffickers. Klein has also become aware of the horrific fact that “during any large gathering in any city, children are being trafficked in for the event.” She sited the recent DNC in Denver and the Superbowl in Miami. “It happens everywhere.”
“We need to work for local girls’ issues,” encourages Klein. “Non Governmental Organizations are working in a world of scarcity. It would be great to see groups imagine that they could have anything.” Klein believes that with determination we can fix any problem out there. She has set her sights on one of the biggest trafficking problems in the world: Southeast Asia.
“Men actually believe that sex with a virgin eliminates AIDS. Therefore, younger and younger girls are being trafficked.” Klein has worked hard to develop personal relationships with leaders in the region to try to make a positive change for these victimized children.
A bright spot in Klein’s fight for these children is a former U.S. Marine James Pond, founder of Transitions Global. Based in Phnom Penh and Mumbai, Pond and his wife have built a safe house system, and one-by-one with the cooperation of local authorities, rescue trafficked children and give them safe haven. In Transitions Global they are educated, provided health care, and after time, rediscover their smiles and laughter. The United States headquarters is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. (www.transitionsglobal.org
Interviewing Klein becomes a herculean task. She is involved in multiple organizations with varied causes, each affecting people’s lives. She has spoken at the United Nations, gained the attention of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, counts concerned celebrities among her friends, as well as Congressmen and other governmental leaders.
She encourages everyone to become involved. “Don’t be afraid to ask for something that seems too big to imagine. Get rid of thinking you’ll look stupid, instead, keep trying. You can make a difference.” She ends with “I want people to know that if I can do this so can you.”
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Seeing other people self actualized and living their dream.
What is your greatest fear?
I don’t have one.
What is your proudest moment?
Birth of my son, Connor.
What is your dream?
The education, safety and well being of all children of the world.
What do you admire in others?
Their vision and action.
Who is your hero?
What is your strongest trait?
I’m not afraid to try something new or difficult.
What do you most admire in a person?
Integrity – saying what they will do and doing it.
If you could meet anyone, alive or deceased, who would it be?
What is your most precious possession?
What do you admire in your friends?
They truly care about other people and the betterment of the world.
What is your greatest regret?
I cannot think of one.
What is your motto?
Make it a great day.
What kind of books do you enjoy?
I love all books. I love reading. My favorite books right now are: Man’s Search for Meaning and The Theory of Everything.
What do you do on your day off?
Be with friends and family.
What do the Kleins do during family time?
Eat and laugh.
What is luxurious to you?
Living in the freedom that we have in America. We are truly blessed