A Voice for the Good: The Center for Nonviolence
3Rivers is proud to support so many of the non-profit organizations that are committed to making our community a better place to live, work, and play, and we want to help spread the word about the difference they're making in our region. We’ve teamed up with 97.3WMEE to bring you A Voice for the Good, a series in which we feature local organizations on our website in the form of an informative articles as well as on-air segments highlighting the non-profits’ missions.
This article features The Center for Nonviolence (CFN)—a local non-profit on a mission to “provide education, support, and advocacy to end domestic and other forms of violence, while modeling equality and power-sharing.”
We talked with Elisiana Diaz-Martin, The Center for Nonviolence’s Admin Co-Coordinator - Marketing & Development to learn more about the work CFN is doing to benefit those in our community.
How did the Center for Nonviolence come to be? What’s the history/story behind how the organization initially got started?
Founded in 1981 as Men for Nonviolence, the organization’s original purpose was to provide a space where male allies in the movement to end violence against women could challenge other men to examine their use of violence and the beliefs that supported it. Soon, Men for Nonviolence saw the need to offer holistic, supportive services for women, children, and historically marginalized populations, and, in 1984, became the Center for Nonviolence (CFN).
What is the official mission of the Center for Nonviolence, and how is it currently being put into play?
For over 40 years, our mission has been to provide education, support, and advocacy to end domestic and other forms of violence, while modeling equality and power-sharing. Our vision is to create homes, communities, and a world free of violence and oppression. We do that by providing a safe, welcoming, and affirming space where individuals and families whose lives have been impacted by violence can receive trauma-informed, client-centered, culturally affirming services.
Our programs and services are tailored to meet the needs of individuals and families across the violence spectrum. We provide support and advocacy for those surviving violence; intervention services for those who have used violence; and prevention services that promote safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments.
How do you see the mission and vision of the Center for Nonviolence evolving in the future in the Northeast Indiana community? Where do you see your organization a year from now, or even five years from now?
Our mission lies at the core of everything we do. In an ever-evolving world, where even the nature of violence undergoes change, our mission acts as a guiding compass, empowering us to responsively adapt. Over the next five years, one of the things we're most excited about is growing and expanding our community-based programming. Broadening the scope of our work beyond our doors will make our programs and services accessible to anyone who needs them, not just those who have been referred to us. We plan to provide more community violence prevention opportunities, such as educational workshops and trainings focusing on nonviolent communication, relationship skill-building, and conflict resolution, so that everyone along the violence spectrum - whether they're surviving violence, using violence, or witnessing violence - can learn how to act in the best interest of themselves, their families, and their communities, and can take an active role in creating safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments.
Are there any exciting new developments, updates, or changes that have recently taken place at the Center for Nonviolence?
As 2022 came to a close, we celebrated the successful restructuring of the Center for Nonviolence service delivery model. The program-based model, consisting of Men's Collective, Women's Collective, and Youth Collective, transitioned to a services-based model: Intervention Collective, Support and Advocacy Collective, and Prevention and Youth Services Collective. This transition has allowed us to move forward in a more gender-inclusive way, expanding our scope of services and enhancing our staff’s capacity to fulfill our communities’ needs.
In addition to that big shift, last year we were honored to participate in the creation of a specialized domestic violence problem-solving court here in Allen County. This had been something that CFN founder, John Murphy-Beams, had been a vocal proponent and advocate of for many years. We designated a team of staff members to represent the organization on the DVC Stakeholders Team, and those staff have been involved in various aspects of the court’s work, from helping to coordinate community education trainings to participating in weekly case review meetings.
What kind of impact did the global pandemic have on the Center for Nonviolence, and how did the organization pivot or get innovative in response?
The COVID-19 pandemic took everyone by surprise and left us initially unprepared. Determined to survive, our organization underwent a radical transformation, reevaluating every aspect of our operations, from program delivery to daily procedures. We developed an emergency strategic plan and invested significant time, money, and resources in transitioning to virtual services while ensuring client safety and the quality of our programs were not compromised. Despite facing revenue loss, staff turnover, and a sense of disconnection, we persevered through the twin pandemics of COVID and an uptick in racism, determined to better serve systematically marginalized populations in our community. With resilience and unity, we made it through!
Could you share a standout story or two that really illustrates the impact the Center for Nonviolence and/or its programs has on people in our community?
One story that comes to mind involves three 5th-grade boys who were participants in our FACES Nonviolent Leadership school-based programming. The boys had become caught up in frustration, anger, and hurt due to miscommunication, rumors, and a shared romantic interest in a fellow student. Recognizing the tension among the boys, a FACES staff member took a proactive approach by engaging with them. After listening to their conversation for a few moments, it became evident that the situation had escalated to the point where they had scheduled a fight after school to "resolve" their issues. In response, the FACES staff member initiated a peer conflict mediation session using our CFN principles of nonviolence.
During this session, the students were encouraged to paraphrase what they had heard the others say, take responsibility for their own actions that had contributed to the conflict, and challenge their preconceived notions about each other. Notably, the boys were also guided to recognize and mitigate their inclination to blame the girl for their problems. In the process, one of the students said, "This is hard stuff! Most adults don't even talk like this." The boys not only reconciled their differences but also left the session on positive terms, reaffirming their friendship and committing to addressing any future issues through direct and respectful communication, rather than resorting to violence. This story exemplifies how our programs equip individuals, even at a young age, with the tools to navigate conflict, communicate effectively, and forge lasting bonds of friendship. It showcases CFN’s remarkable ability to shape future leaders who value nonviolent resolutions and, in doing so, contribute to building safer and more compassionate communities.
How can those interested in your services go about getting started or getting in touch?
If you give us a call at 260.456.4112 Monday through Thursday from 9AM-4PM, our courteous and welcoming front desk staff can get you connected directly with the services you need. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and receive a reply within 24 hours. All our contact information, including our mailing address, can be found on our website contact us page.
Are there other local non-profit organizations that the Center for Nonviolence works/partners with to enhance their programs?
CFN has long-standing relationships with a wide variety of organizations, coalitions, and agencies. We are a member of the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) and work closely with them and their partner organizations to serve our shared communities. In addition to ICADV, we are a member of the Allen County Domestic Violence Court Stakeholders Team, the Allen County Health Equity Coalition and frequently partner with organizations like Health Visions Midwest, the YWCA of Northeast Indiana, Amani Family Services, Catholic Charities, Indiana Legal Services, and FWPD Victim Assistance to meet the needs of survivors. We have also shared space and resources with organizations like Great Heights ABA, Fort Wayne PRIDE, TRANScendence, The Ruach Foundation, Plymouth Congregational Church, and so many others. Finally, we are particularly proud of our partnership with FWCS, McMillen Park Community Center, and the Georgetown ACPL Branch, each of which enable us to provide school and community-based prevention services for youth.
Are there opportunities for community members to volunteer at the Center for Nonviolence—and if so, how can they go about learning more?
Absolutely! There are a variety of ways that community members can partner with us. The first step is filling out our volunteer application here.
In what other ways can community members support the Center for Nonviolence—be it through monetary donations, material donations, education, etc.? Do you have an itemized wish list of any kind or utilize options like AmazonSmile to raise funds?
We are incredibly grateful for those who can donate to our organization. In fact, we have a Giving Tuesday fundraiser happening on November 28, 2023, with a goal of raising $5,000! The many ways to give to CFN, including our in-kind donation wish list, can be found here on our website!
Where can our readers learn more about the Center for Nonviolence or about getting involved?
The best way to learn more about our work and stay up to date on CFN news and events is by visiting our website and following us on Facebook and Instagram. For people interested in regular monthly updates you can get signed up for our newsletter through our website or check out our blog.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about the Center for Nonviolence?
Anyone who has ever survived, witnessed, or used violence has a place at the Center for Nonviolence. Violence is a systemic issue that impacts us all, but together we can create healthy, whole, violence-free communities. No matter who you are, we're here for you.
Interested in featuring your non-profit on our website and on 97.3WMEE’s A Voice for the Good? Text "VOICE" to 46862! Please note that this may lead you to incur standard text messaging rates or other applicable charges consistent with your wireless carrier/mobile phone plan.