Pear Crisis Center holds poster contest, presenting on DV court at Day of Action
February marked national teen dating violence awareness month, and March 7 is Minnesota’s annual statewide day to end domestic violence. It has been a busy time of year for the victims’ advocates at Pearl Crisis Center in Milaca.
Teens Against Dating Abuse (TADA), the student group run by Pearl in Mille Lacs County schools, was recently revamped from a group structured around monthly meetings to a group of teens who receive a daily text message about teen dating violence awareness. They are also able to ask questions and discuss via a group chat.
The structural change to the group was made in part due to difficulty students had in getting transportation to TADA meetings, and navigating around other after school activities, but Pearl’s Safe Dates Coordinator, Tearza Jones, who serves as TADA’s advisor, said the group’s membership has increased since the change.
In recognition of national teen dating violence awareness month, students involved in TADA participated in a poster contest about positive relationships.
Three poster contest winners were chosen from each school by a vote among TADA members. Milaca’s winners were Tonina Deloch, Brea Odorff and Sara Kampa. Princeton’s winners were Jayde Flores, Livie Huhta and Alissa Lueck. Each winner received a $20 Target gift card.
“The theme was love is respect,” Jones said. Huhta’s poster, for example, said “Love is the other name of respect. If you can’t respect your loved one, then you don’t deserve to be loves,” a quote from Bernajoy Vaal.
On Tuesday, March 7, at 9:45 a.m. at the Mille Lacs County Courthouse, the county commissioners will read a proclamation declaring March 7 a day of action to end domestic violence. Glenda Rittenour, Pearl’s domestic violence court coordinator, will also give a presentation about the first year of Pearl’s domestic violence court.
“It’s just a day to recognize that over 80 agencies in Minnesota are helping end domestic violence,” Pearson said.
The theme of this year’s day of action is “It Happens Here,” in recognition that domestic violence is a problem everywhere it happens.
In the past, the day of action has seen agencies like Pearl from around Minnesota travel to the state capital, but this year events are being hosted at local courthouses instead. Pearson believes that will make their message ring out a little louder.
“Each program gets to do this in our own community,” she said.
The domestic violence court is a collaboration between Pearl and Mille Lacs County, funded by a $180,000 grant from the Bush Foundation. Mille Lacs County deputy Rod Greeley serves as a surveillance officer for the court, and Pearl’s Tracey Sundvall works as its victims advocate.
“It’s a multidisciplinary approach in holding offenders accountable while promoting victim safety,” Rittenour said.
Rittenour’s presentation will be an overview of the achievements of the domestic violence court in its first year, looking at things like its conviction rate for offenders and the numbers of urine analyses and check-ins performed by Greeley.