Woman’s Club asks LaBelle, “What’s Your Green Dot?”

Last weekend, at the James Singleton Center, the GFWC LaBelle Community Woman’s Club organized a Green Dot Training. A program that is generously presented by C.A.R.E. (The Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies in Punta Gorda, FL) with the hope of spreading a message to end violence, Green Dot is a movement promoting culture change. A movement that seeks to empower bystanders by recognizing and then taking steps to safely intervene, in matters of power-based personal violence such as Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Child/Elder Abuse, Stalking, and Bullying.

At the start of the training, a pole was taken that revealed a staggering 95 percent of the Green Dot Training attendees knew someone who had experienced power-based personal violence and a second pole showed each of us had also experienced it ourselves.

Presenter Elyse Clark spoke passionately, “Far too many people are being subjected to power-based personal violence in our community and that just isn’t okay with me.” She went on to share harrowing stories about victims she has worked with, as a trained advocate, and pointed out how bystanders might have been able to prevent them from being harmed if that had been equipped to do so by “doing a green dot.”

Imagine that on a map of our community, a red dot pops up whenever someone makes a choice to do harm. The Green Dot theory is that each time we take action to prevent a moment of violence from happening, we add a Green Dot. The ultimate goal is to fill that map with green dots, overpowering and outnumbering the red dots, symbolizing that we have established that we no longer tolerate violence. It does mean everyone must do their small part, but by learning and taking action, this strategy can completely change the culture that enables violence.

“When we all agree to do what we can to stop the violence, we will see a dramatic decrease in the rate at which it occurs. We have to change our culture,” said Green Dot speaker Chris Hall, “It’s time to change the culture. No one has to do everything, but everyone has to do something. D-O-T stands for do one thing. Do one thing every day.”

The speakers and trainees shared their moving and powerful personal stories about why they were so connected to the cause, which helped all of us connect. The training was at times quite fun, other times heart wrenching, but most of all it was extremely empowering. If you would like to actively take part in changing the culture and putting an end to power-based personal violence, I urge you to seek and attend a Green Dot Training.

The LaBelle Woman’s Club wanted to thank LaBelle CPA for being the food sponsor for the event, and to the Hendry County Parks and Recreation Department for allowing use of the building for the event.

GFWC LaBelle Community Woman’s Club is a non-profit organization that was established in 1930, by a group of women dedicated to the community and people in it. Their next meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 10, at 6:00 p.m. at their clubhouse, located at 382 West Hickpochee Avenue, next to Ace Hardware. They can also be contacted by phone at (863) 675-4122.

(Caloosa Belle/Danika J. Hopper) Presenters Chris Hall and Elyse Clark walk participants through one of several role playing exercises during the Green Dot Training at the Singleton Center last Saturday.

Danika can be reached at dhopper@newszap.com

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