Support Within Reach, Development and Volunteer Coordinator

The last few months in our newspaper columns we have talked about Support within Reach’s (SWR) programming. This month we are talking about multidisciplinary teams which were mentioned in the last few articles. We wanted to bring you an in-depth look at the teams, what they do and how to get more information.

These teams are located in each of our counties which include Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater and Hubbard. First, our Cass County Sexual Assault Multidisciplinary Response Team (C-SMART) is led by Marcy Webber in Walker. In the past, C-SMART has met every other month with the purpose of ensuring victim centered responses by coordinating, cooperating and communicating with our partner agencies.

The agencies that have been involved are Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Cass County Attorney’s Office, Cass County Health, Human and Veteran Services, Department of Corrections, Cass County Victim Services, Indian Health Services, Leech Lake Tribal Police and Leech Lake Family Violence Prevention Program. Currently, with the help of team members, we have talked about inviting community members to the table.

At this time we’re still in brainstorming mode and any changes will happen next year. Our last meeting this year will be Nov. 19 on ZOOM. If anyone would like more information about the team, call Marcy at (218) 547-4892 or m.nelson@supportwithinreach.org

Second, our Beltrami County Sexual Assault Multidisciplinary Action Team (B-SMART) is led by Riley Irish in Bemidji. The mission of B-SMART is “to implement and sustain compassionate, victim-centered response to sexual violence that is inclusive of all communities, and promotes victim’s definitions of healing, justice and accountability.”

B-SMART is currently looking at having a “B-SMART” day at Bemidji State University in 2021. We are also creating a questionnaire for our past and current clients to determine how we can improve our services and organizations.

Current members of B-SMART include Bemidji Police Department, Beltrami Sheriff’s Office, Sanford Health, Beltrami County Attorney’s Office, Face It Together, Bemidji State University, Red Lake Public Safety, and more. If you would like more information on joining the team please contact Riley at 218 444 9524 or r.irish@supportwithinreach.org

Third, our Hubbard County Sexual Assault Multidisciplinary Action Team (HU-SMART) is led by Samantha Stevens in Park Rapids. The mission of HU-SMART is “to insure a victim centered response through effective coordination, cooperation, and communication across the community and partner agencies.”

Partner agencies on the team include Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office, Park Rapids Police Department, Hubbard County Attorney’s Office, St Joseph’s Catholic Initiative, Family Safety Network, Lake Country Associates, and Group Works. This team meets bi-monthly at a pre-arranged date and time. For more information contact Samantha at (218) 732-3300 or s.stevens@supportwithinreach.org

Finally, our next two groups are led by Gabrielle Congrave our new Regional Navigator and past Clearwater County advocate and sexually exploited youth coordinator in Bagley. The Headwaters Alliance Against Sex Trafficking & Exploitation’s (HASTE) mission is “to address all forms of sexual exploitation through community awareness and education.”

Partner organizations include BSU, Oak Hills, Evergreen, Northhomes, RLPD, Beltrami County CPS, and others. Right now HASTE is working on plans for Trafficking Awareness month in January, which includes publishing art and writing by victim/survivors in zine format.

We have started inviting community members into the group as well as representatives from partner organizations. We are setting up a series of radio interviews to raise awareness about sexual trafficking and exploitation, and the SH4ALL (Safe Harbor for All) legislation/movement. We work together to offer training for organizations that may come into contact with sexually exploited youth. Gabrielle is also restarting the Clearwater County Sexual Assault Response Team (CC-SART).

The CC-SART’s mission is “to implement and sustain a coordinated victim-centered response toward sexual violence for entire communities that promotes compassion, healing, and justice.” Partner Organizations have included Clearwater County Social Services and CPS, the Clearwater County Attorney’s office, Bagley PD, Clearwater County Sheriff, DOVE, and others.

Right now our focus is on starting back up again. We have discussed giving special focus to Rice Lake, specifically the area known as “the loop” to help address sexual violence, exploitation, and systematic neglect that has occurred in that area. Like HAASTE, we are seeking to involve more members of the community in our meetings.

If you would like more information on joining these groups please email: g.congrave@supportwithinreach.org

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