As health care providers, we are called upon to care for victims of violence and witness the devastating consequences not only to the victim, but to our larger community, CHI has recognized the need to address the cost of violence to our nation’s health and developed the “United Against Violence” campaign in an effort to support local violence prevention programs.
Through the CHI Mission and Ministry Fund, Mercy Foundation was awarded a grant in 2009 to explore violence prevention activities in our community. Spearheaded by the efforts of Laura Wenman, vice president of Mission, and Jacquie Easley-McGhee, community and diversity director, Mercy – Des Moines convened a panel of more than 20 law enforcement, business and human services organizations to explore causes of violence and unmet prevention needs in Polk County. The coalition, known as “Peaceful Pathways,” specifically identified the alarming trend of dating violence among young women ages 12-18.
To help address this problem, CHI awarded Mercy Foundation a three-year $153,727 grant in July 2012 to implement PROJECT S.T.O.P. (Students Training On Prevention). This is a joint effort between Mercy – Des Moines and the Chrysalis Foundation to develop a sustainable youth-driven approach to violence prevention. The project focuses on healthy relationships, dating violence awareness and education for young women participating in Chrysalis after-school programs. PROJECT S.T.O.P. will be implemented over a three-year period at five Polk County school sites. A key element of the program is training high school peer mentors to facilitate groups and offer support to younger participants.
“In light of recent news reports highlighting dating violence and cyber-bullying, we are grateful to CHI for giving us the resources to help our community’s youth develop the skills to understand what healthy relationships look and feel like,” Jacquie said. “We appreciate the Chrysalis Foundation’s expertise in developing and implementing this innovative programming, and we are thankful to Mercy – Des Moines for providing community leadership to launch this project.”
On Monday, May 13, Mercy – Des Moines will host the “8th Annual Chrysalis After-School HerStory Celebration” in the East Tower Auditorium from 4-6 p.m. for young women who have participated in the 2012-2013 Chrysalis after-school programs. Participants will display their photo voice projects, which tell their individual stories through the use of photography. For more information on this event please contact Jacquie Easley McGee at (515) 643-8238.