A local violence prevention program is hoping to spread their message through a group of artistic events and projects throughout Corbin and Williamsburg.
Community Green Dot is a violence prevention program that teaches people how to do proactive and reactive green dots, said Cecelia White, Victim’s Services Director for Cumberland River Behavioral Health.
“Proactive green dots are things that help to prevent violence before it occurs. Reactive green dots are things that everyone can do to intervene when a potentially dangerous situation is happening,” White said.
Cumberland River Victims Services is a program of Cumberland River Behavioral Health. It provides the Green Dot Program at both the high school and community level.
For the community level program, staff from the Victim’s Services program work with Bridgett Rogers, staff of Cumberland River Behavioral Health; Anita Bowman, professor at the University of the Cumberlands; and Angie Weaver, Victim’s Advocate from the Williamsburg Police Department, to implement Community Green Dot in Whitley County.
The group recently awarded four mini grants to complete projects in Whitley County that would promote proactive green dots, such as inclusion, equality, the belief that everyone can and should do their part to prevent violence, and caring for one another. Each grant was awarded in the amount of $2,500 from funding received from the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs. All projects have to be completed by June 30.
The Community Green Dot Team sent out a call for proposals, and as part of submitting a project proposal, all applicants had to watch an overview speech of the components of the Green Dot Program.
Proposals were chosen based on whether they included either proactive or reactive green dots, the projected impact on the community, and whether they could be completed by June 30.
Four projects were awarded.
Beth Grove did buddy benches and a friendship bench.
“This project demonstrates proactive green dots by promoting inclusion, caring for one another by including others in play, providing the resource of the suicide prevention hotline, and promoting caring for another adult by if someone is sitting on the friendship bench indicating that they are in need of something and asking if they can help,” White said.
The buddy benches are on the corner of Poplar and Seventh Street in Corbin and the friendship bench will be at the White Flag Ministry, which is off Roy Kidd Avenue.
Kellene Turner and Kim Branham did a Green Dot “Love Letter” Kiosk by creating and installing an interactive modular kiosk alongside community members to bring awareness through the Green Dot Program with information about reactive and proactive tools to use when witnessing or encountering abusive behavior.
“The ‘Love Letter’ Project will use art to encourage communities and individuals to gain cultural, social, and economic value by taking or writing letters of encouragement to others. It will also include information about community resources. The artists state that the reason that they chose a kiosk and letterbox was because sometimes people are only able to reach out and be heard through writing,” White explained.
“The letters will be acts of ‘kindness, anonymous encouragement, and may be the only kind words an individual will get to hear. The belief is that everyone’s actions have impact and can create a safe and equitable place to live.’”
The kiosk will be set up at approved locations around Whitley County and will continue to exist after the end of this project.
Liv Taylor organized the Green Dot Painter Project, which is two paint parties on June 5 and June 6 at the Kentucky Creative in Corbin. Registration is online on the Kentucky Creative Facebook page.
“Participants will learn how art can be used to be a positive force for change against violence. The sessions will be recorded so that future projects can be done with other groups or potentially an online group can be done. One of the team members will be present at each of the paint days to speak/answer questions,” White said.
Kathy Lay with the Whitley County Health Department is organizing the fourth project, which is Green Dot Walks and Paint Parties at the Williamsburg Housing Authority complexes.
Lay is already doing activities in Whitley County to promote physical health. She is going to combine her walks with the Green Dot concepts and hand out informational items about what people can do to prevent violence.
She is going to do a bullying prevention storybook walk at two of the Whitley County Farmers’ Markets.
“She is also providing two paint parties at the housing authority complexes in Williamsburg to talk about how interpersonal violence affects people long term and what people can do to prevent violence. We will have team members available at these events to speak and answer questions. She is going to promote the Green Dot concept that no one can do everything to prevent violence, but everyone can do something,” White added.
White said that she hopes that community members take away from these projects that no one or no one group can prevent violence on their own, but there are things that we all can do to prevent violence, and that when we all work together we can make Whitley County even better by looking out for one another, being kind, and doing our part.
“We also hope that there will be groups that reach out to us for further training. We have an overview speech that we can provide as well as a longer training that we can provide to community groups/businesses that will teach them how to recognize potentially violent situations and how they can react in a way that is safe and comfortable for them. It also teaches how to do easy things that promote safety,” White wrote.