The Shelter for Abused Women of Collier County is committed to solve and prevent the serious social problem of domestic violence. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Shelter formed a committee with the support of the Collier County Sheriffs Department, the Child Protection Team, Naples Police Department, Marco Island Public Safety, the Collier County Schools and Collier County Parks and Recreation. They developed an ongoing, educational outreach event called “Peaceful Hands.” It is an innovative and unique program applicable for all ages and is easy and fun to do.
The event takes place regularly at one or more of the City and County Parks and the Collier County School System. The program has three main objectives: 1) To help participants learn and understand that hitting and violence are never okay, and that people can learn how to manage their anger, 2) to assist in teaching positive alternatives in dealing with feelings, such as anger, sadness, fear and frustration, and 3) to demonstrate the positive things people can do with their hands.
The program starts off by allowing the participants to leave their painted handprints on the banner titled “Hands are for Helping, Not for Hitting” in order to get their attention. Next, the storybook “Hands Are Not For Hitting” by Martine Agassi, Ph.D., is read using some of the interactive ideas suggested in the back of the book. The “Interactive Ideas” section is a crucial component in reinforcing the concepts in the book and maintaining children’s attention throughout the program.
Local businesses are very generous in supplying the needed materials such as: paper, washable non-toxic paint, paper plates, marker, crayons, etc. Many volunteers are mobilized to organize the project. The community is responding very favorably and hence the public is becoming more aware of domestic violence existing in their hometown.