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Hands Are for Helping Program, Women’s Resource Center, Glasgow, MT

Contact Name: Beth Blakeman-Pohl
Phone Number: (406) 228-8401
E-mail: [email protected]
Key Words: (1) Mixed gender; (2) elementary school age; (3) racially diverse; (4) elementary school setting; (5) curriculum-based program
Population served
This program is for grades K through 6 and addresses violence prevention for both boys and girls. It is provided to all 19 schools in a four-county service area, as well as to youth in day care centers, Head Start programs, and preschools. The program serves approximately 230 participants per month and has a racially/ethnically diverse population, primarily Native American youth. Program participants are identified and recruited through their schools.
Medium used to convey message
The program begins a dialogue with youth and educators about the reality of violence that the youth witness or experience. It then provides youth and educators with the tools (books, videos, teaching guides, web sites, discussion questions) to best address and prevent this violence and to continue to raise youth awareness and build a foundation for respect. Focus areas include (1) Hands Are for Helping basic violence prevention (grades K-2); (2) media violence awareness and its impact on youth (grades 3-4); and (3) bullying prevention with nonviolence conflict resolution (grades 5-6). It also includes a specific component that addresses sexual violence prevention.
Goals, objectives, and desired outcomes
The goals of this program are for participants to begin to build a foundation of respect for one another, including tolerance and nonviolence. The program would also like to heighten awareness of the violence our youth experience or are subject to and have that awareness translate into positive, respectful actions in their daily lives.
Theoretical/ scientific basis for the approach
Materials include Let’s Learn About Preventing Violence (Zatorski, n.d.) and The Bully Free Classroom (Beane, 1999, 2005, 2011).
Level of evaluation
Program staff use student questionnaires and maintain follow-up contact with school administrators, counselors, and faculty. An external evaluation was conducted by educators within the classroom. An internal evaluator was the director of the Women’s Resource Center, who attended the presentations.
The program has been in existence for a year. There are contextual issues that have affected the program. Youth capabilities (those identified with behavioral issues or limited learning capacities) and life experiences (history of abuse either witnessed or personal experience) are important. Due to a remote, isolated location and vast service area (geographic area covering 9 percent of the state), the travel distance is very time consuming. In addition, the population base varies from town to town, and the youth population varies accordingly. These issues affect the presentation style and method.
Staff capacity
Trained child advocates deliver the program. They receive state and national training, with an emphasis on violence prevention and adult and child victim advocacy. Minimal staff are available to assist with evaluation efforts.
Program staff are currently assessing funding. However, the program has been identified as a priority funded program.