New Every Blue Jay Program Partners with Local CARDV

Every Blue Jay Project Coordinator Jeannie Schmidt is personally thrilled that Westminster is partnering with Callaway County’s Coalition Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV) in a new weekly campus program. “I grew up in a very violent home and saw the difficulties my mother faced every time she tried to leave or seek help,” she says.

Schmidt subsequently made domestic and sexual violence prevention her life’s work and has been at the helm of the newly-created Every Blue Jay program since September. The program is part of a new grant the College received this year.

Schmidt says the recent CARDV initiative on campus expands victim services in a variety of ways. “CARDV offers the opportunity to reach advocates on call 24/7 through their crisis line,” she says. “And having an advocate available here each week will greatly enhance our ability for students to find the help they need.”

A CARDV representative is now available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Tomnitz Family Learning Opportunities Center (LOC) in the basement of Westminster Hall. The program is an extension of Every Blue Jay’s victim services that are offered on campus in concert with the Wellness Center. Services already provided through the Every Blue Jay program include counseling, medical services, crisis intervention, and on-call services.

Schmidt says programs such as the new Every Blue Jay-CARDV initiative should be implemented on campuses everywhere — not just at Westminster. “There is not a single life in this country that goes unaffected by sexual violence or domestic violence, and now is the time to address those issues,” she says.

The Callaway County native adds that everyone on the Westminster campus can benefit from the Every Blue Jay program and CARDV initiative. Not only is the overall goal to help survivors, but programs through Every Blue Jay should increase awareness within the Westminster community. “Every Blue Jay seeks to train the Westminster community in becoming active bystanders who can intervene and stop violence from occurring,” Schmidt says.

Schmidt is no stranger to intervention where violence is concerned. In 1996, she created the first victim-advocate group in Armstrong, MO, where she lived at the time. With no more than a phone book and a little gumption, Schmidt formed the group with the help of local law enforcement, the circuit clerk, the local prosecuting attorney, and other concerned women in the community. “My career was born in my kitchen,” she says.

Through her experiences working in a variety of domestic and sexual abuse prevention programs since that time, Schmidt says she can offer clear-cut advice to anyone suffering from abuse but who may be afraid to come forward for help. “I know the thought of reaching out and sharing any part of what you’ve experienced is absolutely terrifying, but you are not alone,” she says. “There are many people who care and want to help.”

For more information Every Blue Jay or the CARDV Wednesday advocate, please contact Schmidt at 573.592.5663 or jeannie.schmidt@westminster-mo.edu, or call CARDV 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 573.642.4422. For more information on CARDV, please visit www.callawaycardv.org.

 

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