Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4061 - Brittany Davis-Green - email@example.com
Pictured, from left, Advocacy Liaison Charneshia Word of Friars Point, MS and Program Coordinator Kenneth Gooden of Clarksdale, MS are leading CCC's new Dating and Violence Prevention Program, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Office on Violence Against Women.
CLARKSDALE – While an estimated one in three women and one in four men will experience an abusive relationship in their lifetime, Coahoma Community College is doing its part to challenge this statistic with a new domestic violence program.
Made possible through a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Office on Violence Against Women, CCC’s Dating and Violence Prevention Program will deliver effective, comprehensive and coordinated strategies to reduce and prevent campus domestic violence and improve the institution's response.
Leading the program is Program Coordinator Kenneth Gooden of Clarksdale, MS.
Gooden received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Delta State University and holds several certifications in counseling and biblical studies.
With experience as a pastor, counselor and in human resources, Gooden’s personal and professional history of helping people sparked his passion to help implement the program.
“This is more than just another grant that CCC has received; it’s a privilege that this opportunity is available to students,” Gooden said.
“One of the biggest problems many people face is simply lack of information. …It’s great that we have this program available now, and we think it’s going to be very beneficial.”
Assisting Gooden is the program’s Advocacy Liaison Charneshia Word of Friars Point, MS.
Word received an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from CCC and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Child and Family Services from the University of Southern Mississippi.
In her new position, she will work hand-in-hand with students to provide consultations, support, referrals and advocacy.
Word said she’s looking forward to connecting with students.
“Since students may not be as comfortable sharing with older individuals, they’ll be able to reach out to me anytime and I can get them the help and the resources that they need,” Word said.
The duo said they’ve already “hit the ground running” this semester and are training and preparing now to have the program fully implemented this Fall in time for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.
In the meantime, Gooden said the program is working towards several goals, including assembling a community response team responsible for educating, assessing, planning, and creating policies.
“Our goal is to educate every incoming student—whether they’re a freshman or transfer—about dating and domestic violence,” Gooden said.
“Education is the best prevention. One of the problems many individuals have is that they don’t know how to recognize if they’re in a domestic violence situation or what to do to get help.”
In addition, the program aims to train campus and local law enforcement on how to properly deal with dating and domestic violence.
“People think that it’s a ‘cut-and-dry’ situation but you really have to be educated on how to properly deal with domestic violence—especially when you have victims who may be reluctant to come forward,” Gooden said.
The program will also provide training to CCC’s discriminatory board on how to properly respond to dating and domestic violence on campus.
While providing resources for victims is a major component of the program, Gooden said there’ll be resources for offenders as well.
“We want to help students understand how to deal with their emotions so that they won’t find themselves being an offender of domestic violence,” Gooden said. “They need to understand the importance of making a right decision instead of a decision they’ll regret.”
Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that all students, both male and female, understand the ramifications domestic violence situations can bring, Gooden said.
“We want to educate students that domestic violence does happen, and if they find themselves in that situation, they don’t have to be ashamed and they can come forward to talk about it.”