Childhelp Board Member Talks About His Child Abuse Experience


Jim Pierce, a child of alcoholics, suffered a chaotic childhood. Shuttled among 15 homes, he averaged a new school every year and at times ran away, sleeping under bridges to escape the snow or searching out unlocked cars for protection at night.

When he was in first grade, he transgressed - he doesn't remember what he did - and the adult in the house stood up and pulled off his belt.

"I knew I was going to get beaten," Pierce recalls.

The boy ran toward a sliding-glass door that was usually open, but that day it was closed. He was trapped.

"When you're beaten, a lot of times you have an out-of-body experience," he recalled. This time, he made a vow toward the heavens, saying, "God, if you send help, I promise when I grow up, I will help others."

Over time, help for him did arrive in various forms: a sweet sister-in-law, caring teachers and jobs.

"He helped me a lot along the way, and I never forgot my pledge to Him," said Pierce, who recently was honored with the Heart of Compassion Award at a gala of Childhelp, a Scottsdale-based national organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child abuse.

"I felt that award was God's way of telling me that I held up my end of the bargain with him many years ago."

Pierce, a Scottsdale resident who has been active in combating child abuse, is a part owner, a board member and a former executive at Chandler-based Isagenix, a fast-growing company that sells nutritional and weight-loss products.

Isagenix has raised more than $3 million for Childhelp.

"It's in the company's DNA to help Childhelp," said Pierce, a certified public accountant who has an MBA from Wharton. He was chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Isagenix.

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