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No More Violence Week set to return to Great Falls

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Posted at 10:44 AM, Apr 05, 2024

In the video above, Tim McGonigal talks with Jamie Marshall, chairperson of ‘No More Violence Week’ in Great Falls, about what the week is about and how people can participate.

At the Alliance For Youth in Great Falls, pinwheels line the front lawn. While they are beautiful sights to see, they are helping to tell a greater story and raise awareness about a critical issue.

“The pinwheels are a national symbol that every child deserves a happy and healthy childhood,” said Jamie Marshall, chairperson of ‘No More Violence Week’ in Great Falls.

The pinwheels are placed at various organizations around Great Falls to mark National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Ten years ago, Dr. Cherie McKeever, a Great Falls College-MSU professor and her students took it a step further in response to a growing number of childhood fatalities resulting from abuse and neglect.

“They determined it was time to do something, time to do something more than just say this can't keep happening,” said Marshall. “They started a series of educational events at the college that grew into No More Violence Week over time, it grew from the college out into the community.”

It's now grown to an annual event with more than 20 organizations participating. This year features a Montana Department of Justice presentation on sextortion on Thursday night, April 11 at Great Falls College.

Marshall says the presentation, given by Bryan Cassidy with the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. “It will be open to parents, providers, those that work in the fields, those that are working with kids, even teens,” said Marshall.

Marshall says the presentation is for people 12 and up and encourages people to use their discretion for what age they think is appropriate.

No More Violence Week set to return to Great Falls

“It really is a subject that's continually changing in this day and age. We would highly recommend folks come and learn a little bit more about what it is and what they can do in helping to prevent it,” said Marshall.

Another presentation on Wednesday, April 10 by a former Great Falls Symphony member uses music to help send an important message.

"Alyssa Roggow a prior member of the Great Falls Symphony and is a visual thinking strategies trainer. She will be doing a whole piece utilizing music, literature, writing all different forms of art to walk through, really a piece on how we heal from violence in our lives or violence in our community, different techniques that we can use,” said Marshall.

Roggow’s program, entitled ‘Building Hope & Resilience in Violence Prevention’ takes place at the Heritage Inn beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Another program called ‘No Small Matter’ takes place at the Heritage inn on Tuesday, April 9 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. will feature the screening of a documentary serving as the launch of United Way of Cascade County’s early childhood initiative. It takes place at the Heritage inn on Tuesday, April 9 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m..

“This is the launch for partnering with Cascade County, the United Way of Cascade County and their early childhood initiative,” said Marshall. “They are launching a campaign that focuses on the need to really make sure that we have quality early education in our community, which really ties very directly to keeping children safe.”

‘No Small Matter’ is a national documentary that was released in 2020. It will be shown at The Heritage and followed up with an expert panel discussion.

A community quilt project called Threads of Connection is back at Paris Gibson Square.

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“More than 700 quilt squares have been created by members of our community, and we've had lots of volunteers, including our Local Quilters Guild, that have made quilt after quilt after quilt that will be on display at Periscopes in the Square Museum of Art all week,” said Marshall.

On Friday, April 12 from 5:30 7:00 p.m., at the Paris Gibson Square, a celebratory event for the 10th anniversary of ‘No More Violence Week’ will be held where the quilts will be on display.

For the first time ever, Great Falls will host the statewide Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) Conference.

“We have national experts coming to speak to a variety of topics, including positive aces, which is the way at looking at a positive way of looking at hard things in life, especially for children and youth,” said Marshall. “We have Adam Dodge with End Tab coming. He has a whole lot of work in ending cyber enabled abused. He came last year and was so amazing. We're bringing him back. And then Dr. Cathy Wells is a native of Great Falls and she is a world renowned pediatrician who specializes in looking at prevention of abuse and neglect, especially tied to drugs.”

Most of the events are free, however the CAN Conference which runs from April 9-11, requires pre-registration.

Marshall says it may be hard to measure if ‘No More Violence Week’ is preventing abuse, but after 10 years, she does feel it's made an impact.

“I'll have someone in the community say 'I shared that resource with someone' or 'Hey Jamie, I saw this and we integrate this into our organization,' or, 'Hey, we made this change because of this trainer,'” said Marshall.