/usr/web/www.timesrepublican.com/wp-content/themes/coreV2/single.php

Mentors for Violence Prevention building strong bonds

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS - Mentors for Violence Prevention (MVP) students from Marshalltown High School bond and laugh as they play musical chairs.

From team-building exercises to learning the dangers of smoking, vaping, human trafficking and more, the Mentors for Violence Prevention (MVP) program at Marshalltown High School seeks to guide young students in a safe, healthy direction.

The program sees older students in their junior and senior years act as mentors for freshman new to the high school. Those bonds were strengthened at a training Tuesday at Iowa Valley Continuing Education.

“What I’ve gotten out of it is how to work with kids that are younger than I am, because we are at different points in our lives,” said MVP mentor and high school senior Mackenzie Moyer. “We talk about drug use, we talk about rape, we talk about domestic violence … we talk about gun violence, we talk about just a whole multitude of things.”

Those conversations are of special importance during Sexual Assault Awareness month in April. Freshmen are not only given someone to confide concerns to, but also get information about avoiding or safely stepping up to prevent situations where violence, including sexual violence, are possible.

“I like working with kids and I want to be a role model for them,” said sophomore Emma Bair, a first-year MVP student.

She said she enjoyed Tuesday’s team-building exercises. One was a game of musical chairs.

“I think they helped with getting to know each other and working with each other,” Emma said.

Junior Abby Murty said she had many negative experiences as a young high schooler and wanted to help others through any tough times they are having.

“My freshman year wasn’t the best year in my life. It was actually really horrible, I got bullied a lot,” Abby said. “There were so many lessons that I didn’t learn, and I’m just upset about it.”

Now, she makes sure to guide freshmen and help them step up in or avoid bad situations. Abby said she thought the training this week was important.

“We have to bond, and starting today we’re already initiating the bonds for next year,” she said.

Tuesday’s training also involved seminars and activities about the dangers of vaping or “Juuling,” suicide prevention, human trafficking, leadership skills and more.

——–

Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com