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By on July 26, 2023

PBS Highlights Gender Equity Reading Tools from Safe Haven Ministries

This blog was written in collaboration between Tori VandeLinde and Janae Sargent. 

Safe Haven Ministries, a Rape Prevention Education (RPE) Sub-recipient in Michigan, was recently featured in PBS’s Spark Change, highlight their Grow Engage Read Initiave (GERI): a gender equity reading initiative for English and Spanish speakers. 

Tara Aday, Jarred Daniels, and Betsy Uwera from Safe Haven Ministries introduced their Gender Equity Reading Initiative (GERI) during a PreventConnect Town Hall 2021. GERI is a violence prevention program that seeks to change social norms, promote youth leadership, and empower parents and caregivers through age appropriate book distributions, reading guides, and a parent toolkit. The GERI reaches pre-K through high school readers. 

During the pandemic, Safe Haven Ministries leaned on its existing partnership with the Hispanic Center of West Michigan, and when the Center was doing a food distribution program, Safe Haven asked if they could distribute GERI books to families, too. Out of this partnership, a new facet of the GERI program was born: a Spanish reading guide and toolkit for Spanish-speaking families. They also had virtual story times, with one recorded in Spanish. The Safe Haven Ministries team added books to their program that were in Spanish, in Spanglish, and culturally appropriate for Latinx families. Betsy Uwera recalls on the PreventConnect Town Hall how a family expressed their gratitude for the Spanish GERI materials because the books introduced her and her son to conversations about consent, boundaries, respect, and healthy relationships.

There exists a gap and a hunger for sexual and intimate partner violence prevention materials both in Spanish and that speak to cultural norms and needs of Spanish-speaking communities. The Gender Equity Reading Initiative from Safe Haven Ministries is one excellent set of tools preventionists can learn from and use to meet the needs of bilingual and monolingual Spanish speakers in their communities.

Click here to learn more about the Safe Haven Ministries’ Gender Equity Reading Initiative reading guide, and to download English and Spanish Guides. The Spanish story time video is also available here. For questions about Safe Haven Ministries’ Gender Equity Reading Initiative and more information, please contact Jarred Daniels ([email protected]).