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    Team building strengthens fight against sexual assault

    Team building strengthens fight against sexual assault

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Milbrodt | During the Betty Griffin House staff leadership training, staff members were invited...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Christopher Milbrodt 

    Florida National Guard Public Affairs Office

    CAMP BLANDING, Fla. – The Florida National Guard is committed to assisting its men and women in the fight to end sexual assault and domestic violence. As a part of this fight, important relationships have been forged between the Betty Griffin House and the FLNG.

    During the Betty Griffin House staff leadership training, staff members were invited to participate in the leadership reaction course at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center in Starke, Florida.

    “In the military, we know that building relationships is very important, the face-to-face time is critical to forming the bond needed to work together,” said Army Capt. Melissa Schuster, the Sexual Assault Response coordinator for the Florida National Guard. “We absolutely want to bring these organizations into our community, because we are already living in theirs.”

    According to Joyce Mahr, the CEO for Betty Griffin House, this was an opportunity to bring together staff members from different areas within the organization, from therapists to shelter staff who don’t usually work together, and help them discover new ways to work as a team.

    “We thought this would be a great way to build camaraderie with the staff and really try to build a team spirit,” said Mahr. “On the first event, there wasn’t a lot of interaction, but as the day went on they started to interact and come together to solve the problems.”

    During the day, Betty Griffin staff members learned there is more than one right answer to solve complicated problems and that thinking outside the box while maintaining focus is crucial to success.

    “This was something completely different from what we normally do on a daily basis, but there are similarities as well. With the course we were forced to focus and think things through much like what we have to do at work,” said Maren Villavisanis, a children’s therapist with Betty Griffin House. “I think this course and the pressures it puts on you allows you to learn something about yourself and how to move forward as a team.”

    The bond between the Betty Griffin House and the Florida National Guard is not just about shared experience and some face-to-face time. This relationship can be essential to one of our Florida Guard families receiving the assistance they need.

    “Because we have forged this relationship, our service members can feel more comfortable seeking help. They understand our unique situations and definitions of assault that do not necessarily match the Florida Statute definitions, as the military has a much broader definition of assault,” said Schuster. “It is amazing the amount of care that you can get through the center.”

    The Betty Griffin house offers protection and quality services for victims of domestic violence and their minor children, victims of Sexual Assault and their families of St. Johns County, Florida, through operation of a shelter offering assistance, counseling and transitional support. They educate the community about services provided and raise awareness of the problems of domestic violence and sexual assault in order to break cycles of abuse.

    “I love the Betty Griffin House! I think a lot of what our Soldiers and Airmen don’t know is that they are eligible to use their services,” said Schuster. “Whatever it takes to get a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence back on track to a healthy life is available to our men and women in the FLNG.”



    Date Taken: 02.26.2016
    Date Posted: 02.26.2016 09:22
    Story ID: 190192
    Location: STARKE, FL, US 

    Web Views: 337
    Downloads: 1