MRV Chamber Launches First Ever Stand Up for Safety Initiative
The Mad River Valley, a popular Vermont ski and mountain tourism destination, has launched Stand Up for Safety, a program designed to offer resources and support for anyone who doesn’t feel safe in the community. This community-wide initiative is the first of its kind in the United States.
Anna Nasset of Stand Up Resources in the Mad River Valley (MRV), town of Waitsfield, is also a Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce board member. She has been the driving force behind the project. Nasset led a MRV Chamber of Commerce sponsored workshop focusing on sexual assault awareness and domestic violence for members of the MRV’s service industry this fall. She is a sexual assault and stalking survivor and advocate for victims of violence and abuse, as well as a longtime service industry worker. Her business, Stand Up Resources, provides training on these subjects to first responders, military, campuses, and the service/hospitality industry.
“This initiative came about in the wake of the workshop Anna Nasset presented in the fall,” MRV Chamber of Commerce executive director Eric Friedman said, “It was very well received with several larger local businesses opting in to offer more comprehensive training for their staff. Another result of the workshop was a desire to have the community present on the topic with a unified voice. Clearly, the chamber was the perfect vehicle to make this happen.”
“In the Mad River Valley, we believe that everyone deserves to be safe from harm. We as a community are standing up to ensure safety of all who live here and visit. Whether you are a resident, visitor or second-home owner, the Mad River Valley community cares about you.”
The Chamber also worked with Nasset to design and print posters that are being distributed to all businesses within the community. The Stand Up for Safety posters direct people to the website that provides a comprehensive list of resources for people to call if they or someone they know is in an unsafe situation. These situations include sexual assault, human trafficking, stalking, domestic violence, struggles with mental health and thoughts of suicide.
“Anna designed the collateral materials and the chamber created the web page, paid for the printing and distributed materials to the local hospitality and retail sector businesses,” said Eric Friedman, the Executive Director of the MRV Chamber of Commerce adding; “As far as we know, no other community in the nation is doing a collective initiative like this.” Nasset said.
The posters are displayed in public places to create awareness for the unique program. They have also been placed in bathrooms of restaurants, resorts, inns and gas stations. This was done because they are private places where people are able to get the information they need from the MRV Cares page and then access services. The posters also have a number that people can text if they need immediate assistance.
The local business community has been incredibly supportive of the program and some of the larger employers such as Sugarbush, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Mad River Glen and Waitsfield Telecom are supporting the program financially in addition to offering on-going educational opportunities. You can learn more about the program at the MRV Chambers website at www.madrivervalley.com/mrv-cares