McGrath Honors Capital’s Link Crew, Advisor Morand for Advocacy Work
HELENA – Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath Wednesday honored Capital High School’s Link Crew and advisor Kelley Morand as outstanding crime victims’ advocates.
“Domestic violence is never an easy thing to talk about, but Kelley and the Link Crew have worked tirelessly to educate their classmates and the entire community about it,” McGrath said in a ceremony at the school.
Morand supervises the group of about 30 young people. Through the Link Crew program, junior and senior students serve as mentors to groups of incoming freshman students and ease the transition from middle school to high school. Capital High Assistant Principal James Conley says the training and advocacy about relationship violence grows out of the relationship between the “link leader” and the younger students.
The Link Crew played host to Montana’s first-ever “Teen Dating Violence Summit,” and the group has representatives on the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Helena Relationship Violence Council.
In February of this year, to recognize Dating Violence Awareness Week, Link Crew members handed out 1,400 white ribbons to their classmates. The ribbons symbolized a pledge to never “commit, condone or remain silent about violence in a dating relationship.”
The Link Crew has also organized Mentors in Violence Prevention training for sophomores and held “Girl Power” workshops for middle school girls at C.R. Anderson.
In her letter supporting the Link Crew’s nomination, Dorothy Bradshaw of the Lewis & Clark City-County Health Department wrote, “Young girls who are victimized are often the last to speak out about their experiences. Link Crew definitely deserves recognition for their work in promoting awareness of a problem and providing safe avenues and community acceptance for those who need to speak out.”
Each year the Attorney General’s Office honors outstanding victim advocates. Nominees were evaluated based on their specific efforts on behalf of crime victims; length of service in the field; their role in relation to a victim service program and outstanding efforts on behalf of victims. McGrath honored Leslie McClintock of Missoula in a ceremony earlier this month.