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Metro offers free & flexible training to break the cycle of violence

LAPLACE — Every human being has power and deserves respect, according to Mark Medina, community outreach coordinator for Metro Centers for Community Advocacy.

Medina offers free and flexible outreach and education to schools, faith-based organizations, businesses and law enforcement agencies in the River Parishes and beyond.

In doing so, he teaches listeners how to identify, prevent and combat harmful acts in the local community.

Metro Centers for Community Advocacy is dedicated to breaking the cycle of violence and aiding the survivors of family violence, sexual assault and stalking through advocacy, intervention, empowerment and transformation.

Free training and education exposes people to the dynamics of the issues, while also sharing resources to help victims overcome their situation.

Medina is not a typical social worker. He’s a retired Marine, and his masculinity leads listeners to reconsider their beliefs about sexual violence, power dynamics and gender roles.

The presentations are never accusatory or overbearing. The discussion is honest, frank and intended to protect lives.

“One of the things I like to make people smart about is dispelling myths about gender roles,” Medina said. “That’s really important because it bleeds into both domestic violence and sexual violence. We help people understand the root of those issues, which is usually imbalance of power. We’re letting people understand that as humans, they have power, and they deserve to be respected. It’s also about letting people know there is help and how to get help.”

Presentations are done by request, and there are no pre-requisites for eligibility. Medina has delivered presentations to groups as small as five people as well as entire auditoriums. He’s given five-hour trainings to law enforcement officers and a 15-minute talk to parents at a St. John Head Start meeting.

The community education can be tailored to almost any audience. It can be conducted with or without access to PowerPoint, inside an office, conference room, school auditorium or classroom.

Due to the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, webinars and virtual classes can be arranged by request. In-person training will be conducted with respect to health and safety guidelines.

“It’s always completely free. All you need is the time and the interest,” Medina said. “I’m very flexible with scheduling. It’s important to me to remove any obstacle for someone who is interested in getting this information.”

Educational outreach and training can cover the following topics related to the Metro Centers for Community Advocacy mission:

  • Sexual assault prevention, response and bystander behavior
  • Sexual assault response – Best practices for law enforcement, including campus police
  • Domestic violence prevention and response for the community
  • Domestic violence assessment and response for healthcare professionals
  • ACES (Adverse childhood experiences study) – Information about the enduring effects of childhood trauma
  • Stalking and technology-related stalking education and response
  • Personal violence prevention and healthy relationship building for students
  • Personal violence bystander intervention skills and strategies for high schoolers
  • Bullying and cyberbullying education and response for students and communities

“Sexual violence, gender equality, domestic violence and stalking all part of the mission,” Medina said. “That can extend to healthy relationships and bullying talks with kids because those are things that lead into it.”

With locations in LaPlace and Norco, Medina said Metro Centers for Community Advocacy is committed to serving the River Parishes. The organization will meet people wherever they are, regardless of age, race or personal situation.

If interested in signing up for education or trainings, please contact Medina by phone at 504-837-5400 or by email at mmedina@mccagno.org. More information is available at http://www.mccagno.org/.