WESTFIELD, Mass. – The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee hosted Reach Beyond Domestic Violence at their Annual Meeting on Sunday, December 6 at Worcester State.
According to the REACH website, “REACH Beyond Domestic Violence is building healthy communities by ending domestic violence. We are committed to advancing the safety, healing and empowerment of those who experience domestic or relationship violence through direct services and education while promoting social justice for individuals and families of all backgrounds. Our name, REACH (Refuge, Education, Advocacy, Change) reflects our commitment to providing individuals and communities with the resources and tools necessary to heal from abuse and prevent future violence.”
Representing REACH as the meeting speaker was Jessica Teperow, the Director of Prevention Programs for the organization. She discussed with the student-athletes her own personal experiences, ways to recognize people close to them who may be privately dealing with issues and also tips on how to intervene if they felt someone was in trouble.
“I was honored to get to join this incredible group of student athletes,” Teperow said. “While most people don’t want to spend their weekend learning about such a difficult issue, these students had selected domestic violence as the topic they wanted to discuss. In particular, this group wanted to understand what they could do- as peers and as leaders- to safely intervene and prevent instances of intimate partner violence on their campus. Throughout my presentation the group provided great insight and asked thought-provoking questions. It was easy to see that this was a room full of leaders and it was inspiring to watch them thinking about how they can take leadership around such an important and prevalent issue. I don’t doubt that the young men and women I met will and can make a tremendous difference in the lives of their friends, teammates, and on their campuses. I look forward to continuing to support and partner with them in this crucial work.”
As part of having Jessica present at the meeting, each institution collected donations for REACH which included toiletries, kitchen items, paper products and many other items.
For MASCAC SAAC Vice-President Brittany Driscoll from Massachusetts Maritime, the whole event was a great experience.
“Jessica from REACH shared a great message to all of the student-athletes in the conference,” Driscoll said. “She helped to increase awareness of (domestic) violence and ways of detecting it. Her message was appropriate for the audience as domestic violence is an occurring topic, especially for the college generation. The message was spread clearly and can be brought back to the students’ campuses.”
After the speaker presentation, Kelsey Carpenter, the MASCAC National SAAC Representative discussed upcoming legislation that will be voted on at the NCAA Convention in January.
For more information on REACH Beyond Domestic Violence and how you can get involved, please visit their website reachma.org.
The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, the nation’s oldest Division III men’s and women’s playing conference, has a rich and storied tradition of competitive success while celebrating excellence in the classroom. MASCAC member schools include Bridgewater State University, Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, MCLA, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Salem State University, Westfield State University and Worcester State University. Two other institutions, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Plymouth State University, are affiliate members of the conference in the sports of football and men’s ice hockey, while Western Connecticut State University joined the conference as an affiliate member in football beginning in 2013.