Indian Hills staff, students learn how to break the cycle of violence

A two-day seminar hands adults and students alike the knowledge they need to stop violence in its tracks.

The Mentors in Violence Prevention, or MVP, program at University of Northern Iowa spoke to students and staff at Indian Hills Thursday and Friday. Their mission is to study the role of the bystander in potentially violent situations. More importantly, they teach that everyone and anyone has the power to make a difference.

"That's the key to prevention -- it's one institution, one organization, one community at a time to decrease the incidents of sexual assault, stalking, dating abuse, harassment, bullying, those types of behaviors," said Alan Heisterkamp, Director of the MVP Leadership Institution at UNI.

Sometimes we are more hesitant to accept that abuse or violence is going on in communities that we are close to, such as a town, family or college campus. That's why letting students in particular know that they have the ability to step in and make a difference is so important.

"Help them feel empowered to know that they can make a difference as a bystander, and give them the skillsets they need to know what to do and how they can make a change," said Jackie Greenfield, Director of Student Health and Wellness at IHCC.

Heisterkamp said it's encouraging to see colleges like Indian Hills taking preventative measures. He said it's prevention that lays the groundwork for a caring and accountable community.

For more information on the MVP program, click here.