VISTA member, Nicole Owens and the Denton County Friends of the Family Community Education team worked together to revamp and organize their presentation for Denton High School’s freshman class. Nicole and the team added several activities and vital information to help the freshmen understand the dynamics of abuse and sexual assault. Each group of freshmen will be presented with three 90 minute classes on topics such as boundaries, abuse, and healthy relationships. Nicole and the team have already started the presentations for over 400 students at Denton High School and the presentations will continue into December.
Because the Fatherhood EFFECT program is very new to Denton County, it is always actively seeking referrals of fathers to its parenting classes. To further the program’s reach into the surrounding areas, VISTA Meghan Kajihara has focused on contacting groups in the communities of Lewisville and Sanger. The initial outreach Meghan made to churches and Parent-Teacher associations in these towns has been warm and productive, resulting in Fatherhood EFFECT’s mentor-navigators being put on the agenda to speak at 3 PTA meetings in different school districts. In addition to referrals already received from CPS, Meghan’s efforts to engage Fatherhood EFFECT directly with parent communities will improve their capacity to receive self-referrals from parents who may be in need of such services but do not know where to turn for help.
October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month and to spread awareness, VISTA member Nicole Owens planned and coordinated two of Denton County Friends of the Family’s awareness events, as well as the Silent Witness Display and social media for the month of October. Nicole kicked off the month with The Clothesline Project at the Denton Square. Community members were invited to decorate a shirt to honor and show support for victims of intimate partner violence. Over 50 shirts were created and many more people stopped by the display to view the shirts and get more information. The following weekend, Rock N Stroll took place at Harvest House, featuring bands Remain and Puddin’ Taine. Hundreds of Harvest House customers had the opportunity to learn more about intimate partner violence while listening to great bands and viewing a display of Silent Witnesses, wooden silhouettes of women that represent victims of intimate partner violence. Silent Witnesses were also displayed at local Denton businesses for the month of October. Fifteen different businesses participated, as well as the University of North Texas and North Central Texas College in Corinth. Social media focused on domestic violence reached over 45,000 people on Facebook and over 10,000 people on Twitter. It’s unknown just how many people were able to participate in the different events or view the displays, but it’s clear that the goal of spreading awareness was definitely achieved.