On May 5th 38 students from SD46 met for a Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Student Summit to address the issue of violence against women and girls on the Sunshine Coast. JR LaRose former BC Lions pro and current spokesperson for the Ending Violence Association of BC was the Keynote Speaker. Run by SCCSS in collaboration with SD46, the MVP program is the first of its kind in Canada.
The primary goals of MVP are to
- Increase awareness of verbal/emotional/psychological and sexual abuse.
- Challenge messages within a social setting about gender/sex/relationship violence.
- Inspire leadership by empowering participants with options to effect change in social norms.
Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP)
– a NEW program of Sunshine Coast Community Services in collaboration with SD46
In light of shocking numbers of incidents of gender-based discrimination and violence, role models – including a former BC Lion – are mentoring young adults to recognize signs of emotional abuse, controlling behavior, cyberbullying and physical abuse. Well known in schools across the US and in sports groups throughout North America, this initiative is based on a peer leadership model using trained student leaders. The students attending the summit today are the first student leaders being trained on the Sunshine Coast and we hope to have this program continue in our schools and expand into local workplaces.
The goal of the Sunshine Coast Mentors in Violence Prevention Program (MVP) is to shift attitudes for good, so that when participants see something unacceptable, they engage, speak up and “be more than a bystander.” The Sunshine Coast is a trailblazer, being the first community to bring MVP to Canadian high school students.
The adult mentors work with students in grades 10 and 11, discussing scenarios and learning to recognize when a peer is being mistreated based on gender or sexual identity. The goal is, as the young role models approach graduation, they will mentor their MVP successors.
Staff and students from four Sunshine Coast school programs united for the 2016 MVP Student Summit on May 5, 2016. Following a morning keynote address by MVP ambassador and former B.C. Lion J.R. LaRose, the 20 mentors and 40 students spent the day discussing scenarios that ranged from verbal abuse to sexual harassment, and from dating violence to consent. As well, youth were able to talk freely about overcoming peer pressure.
Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General –
“One of the first steps to preventing abuse – whether it’s physical or emotional – is to change attitudes and identify what constitutes abusive behaviour. Importantly, MVP works with young men at the age when they are beginning to pursue relationships. The attitudes they develop now will carry through into adulthood, helping them and the women in their lives to maintain healthy, safe relationships.”
J.R. LaRose –
“It takes a real man to stand up against abuse of women and girls – and it’s important, as boys become men, for them to be clear that there are no ‘grey areas’ when it comes to abusive behaviour. I’m not OK with just standing by and being silent when someone is being abused. It’s time we speak up and be a voice for those that have been hurt and abused. Speak up and break the silence.”
Keely Halward, Director of Together Against Violence with Sunshine Coast Community Services –
“We are thrilled to be able to work alongside School District 46 to be the first community in Canada to implement the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program in schools. With over 800 women calling Sunshine Coast Community Service’s 24 hour access line to Yew Transition House each year, and almost half of our Police-Based Victim Services files relating to domestic violence, gender-based violence is not just a statistic, but the reality for hundreds of women and girls on the Sunshine Coast. MVP teaches us that everyone has the opportunity to play an active role in creating a positive climate for girls and women in our community. We are so proud of the youth who are stepping up as leaders and change-makers at the MVP Youth Summit.”
- BC Ministry of Justice – Civil Forfeiture grant program
As a program focused on preventing violence and gender-based discrimination, MVP received a $14,689 grant from provincial civil forfeiture proceeds in 2014/15. The program is among more than 220 anti-violence and crime prevention projects that received grants that year, including 74 supportive of the Province’s long-term Vision for a Violence Free B.C. strategy.
Other funders of this program include:
- RCMP National Crime Prevention Services – Family violence Initiative Fund
- Department of Justice Canada – Justice Partnership and Innovation program
- Sechelt Indian Government District – Grant-in-Aid program
- 100WomenWhoCare – Sunshine Coast Chapter
For more information about the MVP program please contact:
Denise Woodley, Manager – Together Against Violence
604-885-5881, ext. 229
Links to More Information: