Be Inspired to be a Part of the Green Dot Story

By: Maria Turner, FDL Area Women’s Fund Executive Director

Bystander Intervention Project
Kicks Off Community-wide June 21
In Quest to End Local Violence

Stories Connect Us

One thing I’ve learned over the course of my nearly five decades on this earth is that stories link people. The power of a personal story, especially that told by the one who lived it, can inspire to action like nothing else.

Inspired: That’s how I felt, sitting as one of the trainees at the Green Dot Bystander Training session hosted by United Way of Greater Fond du Lac in collaboration with the Fond du Lac Area Women’s Fund as I heard certified Green Dot trainer Bill Bunzel of Society Insurance share his story of why he’s involved with this project.

Bill relayed the story of Tom*, a young man he’d coached many years ago on the wrestling team. Tom was like the 17.2% of American children annually who are physically abused by an adult caregiver. And that’s just the number we know about, as many more children will be abused without child protective services ever knowing.

As Bill tells it, child protective services eventually found out about the abuse Tom and his four siblings suffered at the hands of their father for years.

“Coaches noticed the bruises. But no one knew how to act on their concerns for the boy. Understandable. Because, as all of us have probably felt at some point in our lives, we are frozen to act in situations that are difficult to navigate – especially as a bystander.”

When Tom weighed in as a freshman wrestler – and each year thereafter – coaches noticed the bruises. But no one knew how to act on their concerns for the boy. Understandable. Because, as all of us have probably felt at some point in our lives, we are frozen to act in situations that are difficult to navigate – especially as a bystander.

Bill is committed to Green Dot because he wants to ensure as many people as possible have the knowledge and practical tools to help in situations where they witness power-based violence in the forms of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking and elder abuse.

And through Bill’s story, I’m inspired, as I have my own story about why I’m passionate about these issues. My personal story led me to work that I feel makes a difference – work that is being facilitated by the Fond du Lac Area Women’s Fund.

What is Green Dot?

Green Dot Bystander Intervention Training, a project under the Women’s Fund’s Fond du Lac Says No More initiative, is part of that work. Green Dot utilizes a nationally proven curriculum that helps well-meaning individuals act in situations where they see power-based violence in every day life circumstances. The use of the 3 D’s – Direct. Distract. Delegate. – allows for the utilization of tools that all personality types can embrace in the work to end all forms of abuse in our community.

I’m especially inspired by the idea that local community volunteers have been certified by Green Dot, thanks to a significant grant last fall by the Lacey Sadoff Foundation. Volunteers who are members of this community training others on how to respond to violence. It’s a great model and one we at the FDLA Women’s Fund hope more people in the community will embrace in the coming months. And it helps the local agencies who are doing the crisis work related to domestic violence and sexual assault, our primary partners in Green Dot: ASTOP, Solutions Center, Agnesian/SSM and Fond du Lac police.

That engagement begins with raising awareness that these training sessions – which are free to organizations and businesses throughout Fond du Lac County – are now available for scheduling.

Community Launch – Friday, June 21

National Selfie Day:

We’re building that awareness with a community-wide launch of Green Dot in the greater Fond du Lac area this Friday, June 21, which coincides with National Selfie Day. We hope you’ll be inspired to join us. We’re asking that you visit one of the 40 different teal tables stationed throughout Fond du Lac County at businesses, restaurants, churches and schools (our Project Table Talk tables), read the information about Green Dot Bystander Intervention, snap a selfie and post it to your social media page, as well as ours (FDLA Women’s Fund and Green Dot Greater FDL Facebook pages, as well as Green Dot FDL Instagram). Also, use our hashtags in any of the Green Dot posts, so we can track them and get you entered in the drawing: #westandupfdl and #dontstandby.

Your involvement in our Green Dot selfie posts will get you entered into a drawing to win a $25 gift certificate from Annie’s Café – one of our Project Table Talk host sites.

Huge thanks to Annie’s for their support of this initiative. Check out the amazing window display there created by our Board member Jenny Knuth, who works at wisnet, another great partner.

Downtown Fond du Lac Wine Walk

If you happen to be one of the participants in Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership’s annual Wine Walk, check your swag bags for Green Dot info and definitely, snap a selfie by one of the tables (which are at a number of your wine stops), using both the Wine Walk hashtag and ours. #downtownfdl #fdlwinewalk2019

Take it a step further and adopt one of the Green Dot Greater FDL Facebook frames at least for the entire day Friday or longer. Find them by searching for “Green Dot Greater FDL” in the frames menu. There are two versions to choose from.

We. Make our Community Safer.

Our Green Dot logo features the word “we.” The tie-in with National Selfie Day is especially poignant in the context of our logo because in this age of focus on “self,” vast community change can only be accomplished when “we” work together. It begins with each of us – individual selves – learning more and doing more as individual bystanders, but it is most powerful when all of us – we – come together in a united cause to end violence in the greater Fond du Lac area.

While you’re at the tables, feel free to grab a brochure or business card and consider coordinating a Green Dot training session for your business, one of your clubs/organizations or church. Amber Kilawee at United Way Fond du Lac hosted a one-hour training session earlier this month for 22 people from various member agencies. We loved that we could partner with the United Way in bringing this message to other nonprofits throughout Fond du Lac.

Speaking of business partners, SSM/Agnesian Healthcare has done a phenomenal job of incorporating Green Dot into its ongoing Nurse Education Days. By year’s end, they will have completed approximately 40 sessions across several locations, bringing the one-hour Green Dot instruction to hundreds of nurses and healthcare workers. So important in the healthcare field, as domestic violence and sexual assault are the No. 1 women’s health issue in the United States, affecting twice as many women than even breast cancer.

We are also partnering with Envision Greater Fond du Lac to present a one-hour training to all of its staff on July 23 and C.D. Smith on July 29 for its Lunch ‘n’ Learn sessions to interested employees. We’re also presenting to the morning Kiwanis Club on June 24 and trying to lock in a date for a six-hour training with the morning Rotary Club sometime this fall. These partnerships within the business and service club communities are exciting and hopefully just the start!

If you’re interested in setting up a training, contact information is: or (920) 322- 8778.

Community Workshops Available:

You may also consider attending one of the community training sessions at the Fond du Lac Family YMCA this fall. The Y has graciously decided to partner with us on the Green Dot project, not only putting all of its full-time staff through the six-hour training session, but also being the host site for one-hour free trainings as follow:

  • 8 to 9 a.m. Sept. 18
  • 3 to 4 p.m. Oct. 22
  • 1 to 2 p.m. Nov. 14 

More ways to get involved:

Listen to us on local radio on Thursday, June 20. At 9:45 a.m., we’ll be on with Greg at WFDL, and then at 11:05 a.m. with Bob at WKFZ. We’ll talk about Green Dot, Fond du Lac Says No More and the other things we’re doing.

Stop by our booth at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, June 22. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about Green Dot or anything else we’re up to at the FDLA Women’s Fund. And, we’ll never say no to a generous donation to support our work!

Positive Energy.

There is so much positive energy surrounding Green Dot Bystander Training and the FDLA Women’s Fund’s Fond du Lac Says No More initiative. It would not be possible without the commitment of the 43 local certified trainers who are stepping up, donating their time, to ensure this project’s success. I am immensely thankful to them – many of whom were inspired, like Bill, by a personal story.

I hope you’re inspired to join us this Friday in raising awareness about Green Dot. But in the bigger picture, let’s work together to fulfill the Fond du Lac Area Women’s Fund mission to facilitate bold change to advance Fond du Lace area women and girls. Green Dot is bold change. Green Dot will advance women and girls. Green Dot will prove that together, we can end domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.

Someday, Green Dot will be the story we tell: The story of success in helping victims who suffer. That’s the one I look forward to sharing.

Posted on June 19, 2019


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