In 1982, Suellen Fried founded the STOP Violence Coalition in Kansas City, an innovative program dedicated to the prevention of interpersonal and family violence, and devoted herself to collaborations between child, spouse, elder, substance, and sexual abuse agencies. She involved prisoners as volunteers in a community effort to reduce violence, including a self-help program that is now in five Kansas prisons. Volunteers maintain the prison project that claims a 14% recidivism rate for inmates who participate in the STOP Violence program. The program is supported through fund-raising and donations.
Ms. Fried has continued her volunteer work with state and national child abuse prevention groups. At an international conference in 1992, she identified bullying as a form of child abuse. For the past five years, she has made this issue her passion, spending countless hours each week in metropolitan area classrooms helping students change their attitudes and bullying behavior. She also works with teachers and parents on this issue. She even wrote a book to stir up public concern about bullying, and a recent spate of suicides and homicides related to bullying has tragically proven her point.
Ms. Fried was instrumental in developing a Kindness program that is sponsored by the STOP Violence Coalition, involving over 375 schools in Kansas City, more than 225,000 students, and hundreds of volunteers. The program is designed to teach school-age children respect, compassion and kindness through a classroom curriculum, and it is be used in the schools of 31 other states, as well.
Another program that has benefited from her innovative spirit is the Local Investment Commission (LINC). Here, she co-chairs a committee that instituted a project called Walk In My Shoes where citizens spend 16 to 24 hours accompanying child protection staff workers involved in child abuse investigation, foster care, termination of parental rights, etc. This program has captured national interest.
Ms. Fried currently serves on numerous national, state and local Boards, such as the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse Board, while continuing her hands-on work in prisons and schools, and she receives no stipend for her community service.