Four nominated for 2020 Peacemaker Award

As part of the virtual Take Back the Night rally, CVIC will announce the recipient of the 2020 Peacemaker Award, which is given annually to a local citizen who demonstrates outstanding commitment to ending violence in greater Grand Forks.

The rally will launch at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 and can be viewed here.

Nominated for the 2020 award are:

Melissa Hiltner, Principal, Manvel Public School: Hiltner advocates for CVIC prevention and education programs in classrooms and our intervention work for youth, putting trauma-informed practices at the forefront of school-wide responses to youth. “As an educator and administrator, healthy relationships have always been a passion of mine, and the work we do as we partner with CVIC has created a school culture of connection, trust, respect, and empathy within the walls of our school. My staff and I believe teaching about healthy relationships not only allows for student success in school, but gives our students a strong, safe support system that can enable students to thrive and learn at high levels,” she said.

Mark Nelson, Chief, Grand Forks Police Department: Nelson has been a strong supporter of CVIC and it’s Coordinated Community Response Project. He was one of the first stakeholders to support programs impacting officers’ responses to domestic violence and sexual assault. He leads by example to support responses to relationship violence incidents that have the safety and best interests of victims at the forefront. “We know there’s a commitment from day one when that trainee steps in the door until somebody retires from here, understanding how domestic violence impacts our community and how it’s not a stand-alone issue. We’ve gotten better at understanding of how it ties into economic factors, mental health, addiction, with kids at schools. Building that understanding has made us better as a department,” he said.

Kara Wettersten, Ph.D., Author, Friendships that Work and Associate Professor, UND: Wettersten has given CVIC the programming needed to start and continue healthy relationship education with students as young as 4th grade. She has partnered with our prevention department to ensure content is current and effective by allowing for adjustment based on needs and feedback. “Our work together has included such issues as career concerns and resources for survivors, community building and community task forces, bullying prevention in the schools, and gathering and interpreting school-based data regarding interpersonal violence and interpersonal health. However, the work I am most proud of is our joint goal of bringing healthy relationship programming to middle schoolers and high schoolers. Through Friendships that Work, together we have reached thousands of kids with specifics skills that create good friendships — skills that we hope are the basic building blocks for healthy and satisfying relationships throughout a lifetime.”

Andy Schneider, Sheriff, Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office: Schneider is investing resources to improve the sheriff’s office collaboration with CVIC and supporting our work to increase advocacy and outreach to rural Grand Forks County communities. He takes an active role in ensuring his staff receive training to gain a better understanding of domestic violence and sexual assault dynamics. “When I stepped into the role of Sheriff of Grand Forks County I felt that part of my job description and duties was to serve selflessly to the citizens of our county. A large part of my role is conversations, meetings, and developing relationships with agencies and individuals to make our County the safest place possible. I look forward to continuing our positive relationship that will make Grand Forks County a safer place to live,” he said.