Maybe it’s worth taking a minute on Monday to think about the flip side of Valentine’s Day cards, flowers, and pink teddy bears.
The flip side is domestic violence.
Everyone knows it’s a big problem, but what can we do about it?
That was a question that the members of the Junior League of Plano (JLP) grappled with more than 10 years ago—and their answer lives on today with the Collin County Council on Family Violence (CCCFV).
In February 1999, JLP began researching services, processes, and procedures related to family violence in Collin County.
In November 1999, JLP held a “Key to a Safer Community: Reducing Family Violence” workshop for more than 150 community leaders.
In March 2000, Collin County community leaders met at the JLP office to participate in a professionally facilitated half-day retreat, “Reducing Family Violence by Evolving a Process of Closer Cooperation,” that resulted in a commitment to work together and develop a vision statement.
In July 2001, JLP and its community partners adopted the name CCCFV, bringing together community leaders and social services professionals from more than 40 public and private organizations in Collin County, which has experienced explosive growth over the last three decades, to address the problem of family violence through education, prevention, intervention and seamless 24-hour assistance. From the start, CCCFV’s mandate was to create stronger partnerships between agencies and organizations to more effectively combat family violence and to develop the Collin County Coordinated Response Plan to serve as the blueprint for the public sector’s response to family violence in the county.
And JLP is still intimately involved in CCCFV’s activities today.
In October, the CCCFV completed a Next Steps Session to determine future focus areas for the Council. And JLP and CCCFV members are taking a deep breath after completing the CCCFV’s 8th Annual Facing Family Violence Conference in January. The conference featured captivating key note speakers and break outs on current trends and research, and the target audience includes professionals on the front lines such as law enforcement, education personnel, counselors, social workers, nurses and other professionals who often deal with family violence. The CCCFV looks forward to bringing diverse members of the faith community together to discuss family violence intervention and prevention at the CCCFV Faith Symposium in April.
But that’s not even the whole story.
Turning Point Rape Crisis Center of Collin County provides counseling, education, and advocacy for those impacted by sexual assault. JLP’s community project in conjunction with the Turning Point Agency is Turning Point –Teen Awareness Program which provides educational training to middle school and high school students in Collin County about sexual harassment, sexual assault, date rape, date rape drugs, what constituted healthy dating behaviors and how to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
So hats off to the members of the Junior League of Plano, who had a big vision and brought it to life. In doing so, JLP demonstrated three important lessons for Junior Leagues and other volunteer organizations.
First, it is possible to address a major social problem like domestic violence at the community level, without waiting for government action.
Second, volunteer organizations like JLP have enormous power when they engage other community organizations in addressing the problem in a coordinated, sustained way that creates lasting community impact.
Third, there’s a great satisfaction in a job well done.