LEWISTON — The YWCA Central Maine, Lewiston Public Library and Lewiston-Auburn’s Community of Kindness are partnering with Green Dot, an international leader in violence prevention, to provide a four-day bystander intervention instructor training, designed specifically for the Lewiston-Auburn community.

Lewiston-Auburn will be the first community in the United States to offer a train-the-instructor program that is customized to the unique cultural dynamics of the community.

The training was built from the input of more than 60 L/A area community members, who met in 13 focus groups with a Green Dot facilitator last April. Participants were able to give the organization a nuanced perspective of the twin cities and share their perceptions of the bonds and supports connecting community members, as well as the challenges posed by the differing backgrounds, life experiences and world views of various subgroups.

Over the course of a week Tuesday to Friday, Aug. 15 to 18, 40 to 50 local residents will complete the free four-day training at the Lewiston Public Library and become certified Green Dot instructors. The training is underwritten by funds raised from local sources by Community of Kindness members, in collaboration with YWCA Central Maine.

Participants will develop skills to provide bystander intervention workshops to service providers, businesses, faith-based groups, medical offices and other community groups in Lewiston-Auburn requesting such training during fall and winter.

The YWCA Central Maine and Community of Kindness launched the initiative in response to several incidents of anti-immigrant harassment. They have partnered with Green Dot because its approach is research-based and has been proven in work with universities, the military and other organizations across the U.S. and throughout the world.


“Green Dot provides tools for ordinary people to respond in safe and effective ways to interpersonal violence, threats, and behaviors,” explained Kathy Durgin-Leighton, executive director of YWCA Central Maine. “These are tools that can benefit any community.”

One such tool is building a community map full of green dots, where each dot represents a place that power-based violence or harassment will not be tolerated.

“Each dot is a place for all community members to safely co-exist,” said Community of Kindness member Jan Phillips, adding, “Having lived and worked and raised families in this community, we know the goodness of Lewiston-Auburn. We know that this is a strong community, unafraid to examine itself and then work collectively to become even stronger and safer.”

For those unable to commit to the four-day training, a half-day community kick-off session will be held on the morning of Aug. 15.

FMI, register: 207-795-4050.

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