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Bright Space Grant helps BH Education Coordinator complete domestic violence training

September 24, 2018

Rachel Belk is an Education Coordinator at Bright Horizons Early Discoveries and has been a Bright Space Connector since January. Earlier this year, she took it upon herself to reconnect with the local Bright Space at A Safe Place in Zion, Illinois, which opened in 2004. Rachel was interested in volunteering, and discovered that A Safe Place requires all volunteers to complete a 40-hour domestic violence training. “I think this is a very important cause that affects a lot more families than we think,” she said.

However, there was a cost associated with the training, which is put on by the shelter and an Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Professional. Rachel applied for and received a Bright Space Grant, which covered the cost of the training. Bright Space Grants are given with the goal of encouraging new ways for all employees to become involved with their Bright Space and to support the agencies where Bright Spaces are located.

The training included online and in-person sections. The in-person training “was filled with activities to help you understand how victims of domestic violence may struggle to get out of their situations. There were lots of open, honest conversations, interactive activities, and videos about domestic violence,” said Rachel.

One thing that really stuck with her from the training “is how domestic violence affects so many different families. You can’t stereotype what a domestic violence victim looks like, where they come from, etc. because it affects so many different people. More men are affected than we think. The fact that DV doesn’t have to be physical either is something that really stuck with me.”

What Rachel learned in the trainings goes further than just her volunteer work at the shelter. She uses what she learned to help guide her interactions with the children she works with every day. “I use what I learned in the trainings to be empathetic and understanding of the children’s behaviors and know that they might be behaving in a certain way because of what is going on in their life or because of the actions they see at home,” said Rachel.

The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children is focused on brightening the lives of children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness and other crises. This is done by partnering with shelters and other agencies to create Bright Spaces, where children can play and experience the joys of childhood. For more information, visit our website www.brightspaces.org. More information about Bright Space Grants, including the application, can be found on our BrightWeb page.