Picture: Students in the “Mentors in Violence Prevention” program at MPH on stage at the press conference on Feb. 14. The program aims to raise awareness within the school and community about domestic and sexual violence and how to recognize it.
DeWitt On Feb. 14, Vera House held a press conference at Manlius Pebble Hill School in Dewitt to kick off the fundraising and raise awareness for its 19th annual White Ribbon Campaign. The campaign is led by concerned men who invite all members of the community to pin on a ribbon and help to raise awareness and funds to end domestic and sexual abuse. Last year, Vera House had about 30,000 participants in the campaign in Central New York; this year their goal is 40,000.
For the past five years, Vera House has been providing classroom programming to all of MPH’s upper school wellness classes through its education program, “Mentors in Violence Prevention.” MPH is one of just a handful of schools in the area to take part in the program in which high school students who have completed a certain curriculum actively spread awareness to their peers about domestic and sexual violence and how to recognize it.
About 40 students participate in the program at MPH and therefore live by the principles of raising awareness, challenging thinking, opening dialogue, and inspiring leadership among other students and members of the community.
The press conference was held in conjunction with “One Billion Rising,” a call to women and men across the planet on Feb. 14 to gather in their respective communities to demand an end to violence against women and girls. It is estimated that one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime – and with a world population at seven billion, that adds up to over one billion females who will be abused.
The White Ribbon Campaign will take place from April 12-21 this year with the tagline “There’s no excuse for abuse.” Vera House director of communications Chris Benton says that by wearing the ribbon, people are making a promise to themselves and to the community.