Wednesday, August 3, 2011

MAAV Happenings. . .

I've been very busy with my board responsibilities for MAAV lately!  Things are going really well and we are gearing up for our big fundraiser, the 16th Annual Walk and Candlelight Vigil which is in October.  Lots of work to be done before there.  In case you are interested here is some MAAV "news."

MAAV was featured on Channel 5 in Boston recently!  As many of you know a young woman, Lauren Astley, was murdered by her on again/off again boyfriend.  MAAV is very committed to prevention of teen dating violence and we have an excellent program at Melrose High School.  Channel 5 interviewed some of the students who are great role models and strong advocates against teen dating violence and bullying.  Bravo to them for making a difference in their school and w/ their peers.  Click on the link below to watch the video!

Teens Counsel Peers On Teen Dating Abuse - Video - WCVB Boston
(unfortunately I can't embed the video into my blog due to copyright laws)

I hope this may help other teens and prevent another tragic death.  My heart goes out to Lauren's family and friends.  She seemed like a great girl from what I've read and of course I was quite impressed that she was heading to Elon University in the fall which is where I went too.

We recently had the annual Board Retreat.  This happens each summer and it is a great opportunity to celebrate our success and set goals for the next year.  We also get to spend time talking and catching up which we don't get to do much of during our regular meetings.

The retreat was at the Botume House which is on a lake.  We enjoyed AC inside during the business part of the day and beautiful views outside during our lunch break!

To start out the day we did a fun icebreaker.  Of course we all know each other but this was a way to get to know each other better!  We basically had to write a "bio" or as I like to say "personal ad."  Haha!  We had to write it w/ info that people wouldn't know about us (interesting fun facts - but all PG)!  Then one of the board members read them and we all had to guess who it was.  It was pretty funny and some were easier than others.  I recommend this as an icebreaker if you need something new and different.

We had 2 special guest speakers at the retreat.  Both were from Emerge which does counseling and education to stop domestic violence.  For so long there were only programs for the victims and no help for the abusers.  Emerge is treating the abusers to (hopefully) stop the cycle of abuse.  One of the group leaders spoke first and told us about how the program works.  They have groups for men, groups for gay men and groups for gay women and people can enroll voluntarily or be court mandated due to charges with partner violence.  The program is very interesting and it is nice to know that there are resources out there.  We then heard from "an abuser."  He is about 1/2 way through the program and he shared his very personal story w/ us.  This was his first time public speaking and he was quite brave to sit before us and share his mistakes w/ us.  He talked about what he has learned so far at the program, how he has changed, and his goals for the future.  I give him a lot of credit for coming to speak to us.  I hope that he is doing as well as he seems and I hope for him healthy future relationships.  I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to hear from him to maybe gain some better understanding of why people abuse (he talked about low self-esteem and control).  So often we hear from the victim but not from the abuser. The entire retreat was a great day.  Very exciting for all the things we have planned in the coming year!
As I've mentioned before I am on the Walk Leadership Team for the Walk Committee.  Last night was our first of many meetings.  It was great to meet all of the committee members and discuss ideas/action ideas.  Once thing different we are doing this year is a community art project.  The point of the art project will be to bring community members together and raise awareness about domestic violence, teen dating violence and bullying.  The art project is "Everybody Has A Hand In Stopping Violence!"  The committee "practiced" last night to see how the idea would work.  We traced our hands all over this huge banner and filled the whole thing.  We then cut it into puzzle pieces, colored, and put it back together.  Different groups in the community will have a "piece" of the puzzle to work on.  I can't wait to see how it will look on display the day of the walk!

So now you are up to date!  This organization truly does amazing work in the community.  It shows that hard work by dedicated people can really make an impact.  If you are interested in learning more or making a donation you can go to:

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a great program. I've had friends involved in abusive relationships, so I know what they've gone through (well, from what they've told me, I obviously can't personally know).

    I think all high schools should have some program like that.