Human Services

UNSPOKEN VOICES CHARTERED

We Speak Up

Morris, MN

Mission

Unspoken Voices exists to give a voice to those who have lost the strength, will, or ability to speak out. This non-profit organization has been created to:

(I) GIVE A VOICE TO VICTIM/SURVIVORS THROUGH EMPOWERMENT, EDUCATION, AND ADVOCACY, AND;

(II) TO GIVE A VOICE TO EACH OF US, ENCOURAGING US TO BECOME ACTIVE BYSTANDERS WILLING TO EFFECT POSITIVE CHANGE.

We, as individuals and community members, have the ability to say that violence is not okay. We will use our voices to intercede, support, educate through videos, skits & theater, and protect each other, our families, and our communities!

WE SPEAK UP!

Notes from the Nonprofit

“[A]s a visual learner it was easier to actually see these types of things taking place [in Unspoken Voices' presentation] and it was easier to accept. Instead of it being awkward in a boring lecture, it really showed me how these things matter."
— Minor, Name Withheld
“The Unspoken Voices Troupe came to our classroom and delivered an amazing performance and interactive experience!!! My students STILL talk about the important message and how much fun they had!!"
— Nikki Bettcher Erickson – Teacher and Theater Artist
“Kilo, I truly believe in what you have done and what you are doing — you are in every sense of the word a hero to me. "
— Retired Senior Special Agent - Retired Chief, Behavioral Sciences Education & Training Division, United States Army Military Police School - Internationally Recognized Subject Matter Expert & Speaker
“This program, especially this year, presents topics that students deal with on a daily basis. The humor infused into the skits helps approach these areas.

Ruling Year

2014

Executive Director

KiloMarie Granda

Main Address

616 Atlantic Avenue

Morris, MN 56267 USA

Keywords

Advocacy, Education, Empowerment, Violence Prevention

EIN

47-2501358

 Number

7373828602

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (P01)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Unspoken Voices was chartered and incorporated through the State of Minnesota in June of 2014. We use a culturally inclusive bystander training program to provide the education needed for a greater understanding of what personal, power-based violence is and the various precursors that often preclude an act of violence.

Our program mitigates the incidences of violence and sexual assault through effective peer and cultural influence. Unspoken Voices provides tools for individuals that encourage and empower them to feel comfortable and competent in becoming active rather than passive bystanders. The intervention tools used in this program are research-based and relevant to how individuals can engage and intervene in aggressive peer scenarios.

We try to look at issues from both sides. Our program encourages individuals to create the positive societal and cultural changes that we need.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Stand UP, Step IN, Speak OUT

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

STAND UP, STEP IN, SPEAK OUT

This bystander intervention project was conducted using qualitative and quantitative measures. Included in the demographic of individuals surveyed were multiple groups including—but not limited to—providers of services for survivors of sexual assault and violence, members of the the Latinx, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized communities throughout Minnesota. We have applied this project in people's existing connections within these communities to conduct authentic engagement and solicit honest feedback about bystander-intervention programs, as well as consultation with individuals that identify as part of a marginalized community. This research, combined with peer-reviewed bystander dynamics research has led to the creation of our bystander program.

SOCIAL JUSTICE ARTS TROUPE

We present our bystander intervention program interactively. What that means is that we have designed it to engage the student at a level that they are comfortable with. To this end, Unspoken Voices created the Social Justice Troupe. The Troupe is made up of artists and activists with the common goal of utilizing the emotionally persuasive power of art to spread information and create change. In addition to universities and schools, Unspoken Voices has also performed for the larger community. Various venues include outdoor festivals, such as the 2017 TC Pride Festival. Regardless of the venue, one key element is consistent; audience members are invited to see where they fit into each scenario. The social justice troupe has addressed issues of bullying, domestic violence and violence issues that involve the general public. As our experienced troupe grows, we will continue to find new ways to bridge social justice and the arts through theater, dance, visual arts, film, and other media. Transformation is best achieved when people are open and willing to change, and the arts have the power to not only entertain, but also open up audiences to new ideas and information.

By bringing people together in a creative setting, the troupe hopes to reach people in a way that can begin discussion and spread this vital message to a wider audience in an effective and powerful way.

Throughout the past three years, Unspoken Voices has been creating Culturally Sensitive, Research Based Bystander Intervention & Consent Training Program.This research project was conducted using qualitative and quantitative measures, including multiplesurveys and listening sessions throughout the state. Included in the demographic of individuals surveyed were multiple groups including, but not limited to: providers of services for survivors of sexual assault andviolence, members of the Latinx, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized communities throughout Minnesota.

We have utilized existing connections to these communities to conduct authentic engagement and solicit honest feedback about bystander-intervention programs using a combination of public forums, one-on-one
interviews, online and paper surveys, as well as consultation with individuals that identify as part of a marginalized community.This research, combined with peer-reviewed bystander dynamics research has led to the creation of our bystander program.
Not only do we have an educational program, we also have an interactive delivery system, designed to engage the student at a level that they are comfortable with. To this end, Unspoken Voices created a Social
Justice Troupe. The Unspoken Voices Social Justice Arts Troupe is made up of artists and activists with the common goal of utilizing the emotionally persuasive power of art to spread information and create change.
The troupe formed as part of the greater Unspoken Voices organization, and is working on multiple projects within the organization's mission.
As the troupe grows, it will continue to find new ways to bridge social justice and the arts through theatre, dance, visual arts, film, and any other mediums that the volunteers are able to work with. Change is best
achieved when people are open and willing to change, and the arts have the power to not only entertain, but open up an audience to new ideas and information. By bringing people together in a creative setting, the
troupe hopes to reach people in a way that can begin discussion and spread to a wider audience in an effective and powerful way.
Over the past year, Unspoken Voices has done a considerable amount of expanding. Throughout the past year, we wrote eight different and original scripts and choreographed multiple dances for our performance
troupe. We put together a public performance for a domestic abuse/sexual violence program that was showcased at the University of Minnesota and received very supportive feedback from surveyed audience members. Since that time, we have have performed for dozens of schools and thousands of children. Our performance programs use our bystander intervention research previously mentioned.
In addition to universities and schools, USV has also performed for the larger community. Various venues include outdoor festivals, including the 2017 TC Pride Festival on the Power to the People stage.

Unspoken Voices (UV) was founded shortly after our executive director was sexually assaulted, based on the barriers she faced in attempting to bring this case to court, she has dedicated herself to advocating for
other survivors of power based violence. To this end, UV's mission is to (I) give a voice to victims and survivors of power-based personal violence through empowerment, education, and advocacy, and (II) give a voice to each of us, encouraging us to become active bystanders.
We do this by providing interdisciplinary education to school children in rural Minnesota about how to stand up against violence in our community with a particular emphasis on violence caused by systems of
oppression like rape culture, heteropatriarchy, racism, and ableism. Because of the violence perpetuated by rape culture as it intersects with systemic discrimination we have also connected with a diverse coalition of individuals including sympathetic law enforcement, social service providers, educators, survivors and more to mobilize the community to speak out against power based violence and make efforts to eliminate it in our schools and communities.
We also empower college and high school age survivors to express themselves through our Social Justice Arts Troupe which uses a variety of performing arts and is part of the previously mentioned education
program.
Additionally, we provide trauma-informed self-defense clinics where survivors can practice reconnecting with their body in a non-judgmental and affirming space. Finally, we are active in public policy advocacy
including working with legislatures on establishing “victim's right to review" and “affirmative consent" bills.
Our goals include (I) ending structural violence in rural communities which are often insulated and detached from advocacy organizations for LGBTQIA+ people and people of color, especially in the Midwest and to (II)
mobilize people to become active participants in preventing violence within their own communities.

In the 2017 Unspoken Voices (USV) partnered with Friend2Friend to put on performances at 5 schools. During these performances, actors addressed a variety of topics including bullying, sexual assault, and harassment. After the performance, both teachers and students answered a brief survey which asked about how engaging the performance was, what issues most impact school age youth and other information. Results of the survey were almost universally positive with both youth and teachers praising the format, content, and engaging style of the troupe. Results also indicated that bullying is a significant worry among students second only to academic success.

Surveys were distributed after performances for both students and teachers to answer. Approximately 429 students answered questions about what were key stressors in their life along with evaluating the troupe. The performances were evaluated according to four metrics: appropriateness of format (is a skit format a useful medium for conveying skills necessary to be an active bystander?), how engaging the troupe was, how understandable the material was, and how useful it was for the students and teachers. Demographic information was also collected, however all surveys were anonymous. For analysis simple percent calculation and comparison was used.

Of the 383 students surveyed, 50% were from the ages of 13-14 with a range of 10-19. Respondents were approximately 54% female identified and 46% male identified. Schools are in West-Central and Central Minnesota. Almost all students come from a public school.
Key Findings:
Finding #1: Bullying is a major stressor for youth second only to academics
Outside of worries associated with doing well on exams or getting their daily homework done, Unspoken Voices found bullying to be the issue causing the most stress to student respondents. After bullying, worries about the capacity to make and/or keep friendships are the next most prevalent stressors

The data demonstrates that while academics is by and far the largest trigger of stress in respondents lives, bullying was still considered a major stressor by about one in four respondents. This demonstrates that bullying can be a significant detriment to student success and wellbeing in school and presents a major stress in the life of many students.
Finding #2: The Sketch format was considered enjoyable for student.
I think that if you are just telling a child to stand up, they don't get it, so if you make it fun, it helps a lot. – Student Respondent
The sketch style approach utilized by Unspoken Voices, which works toward providing students with techniques and suggestions for dealing with difficult situations, was met with overwhelmingly positive reception. Nearly every respondent said that they found the presentation style enjoyable (93%) or somewhat enjoyable (3%).

Tackling the difficult issues of bullying and school-related stress is an arduous task often hampered by the necessity for conveying required information in a formal training setting. Such a setting makes it difficult to relay information to school-aged children in a manner that both captures the attention of students and ensures that the information is understandable to the students. Unspoken Voices has found that a sketch-style approach to providing students with the tips and tools necessary to be active bystanders encompasses the needs of being both clear and concise, with near unanimous agreement from respondents that the Unspoken Voices performances were both engaging (94%) and understandable (95%).
Finding #4 the performances were considered almost universally useful and impactful.
[Unspoken Voices] helped me understand that even if you're not directly doing anything to them but you're not letting them sit by you, or excluding them, that's still bullying and I will help that person who's getting excluded- Student Respondent
This program, especially this year, presents topics that students deal with on a daily basis. The humor infused into the skits helps approach these areas. You are able to reach a lot of youth with this program -Teacher; Willmar Middle School

Although the unique approach to bullying prevention through the promotion of bystander intervention used by Unspoken Voices provides rare benefit of an engaging and understandable presentation, such a program would be futile if it did not leave a lasting impression on those in attendance. Figure 3 demonstrates that respondents largely agreed that the information provided by the program is information they could see themselves using as active bystanders (93%). Furthermore, many of those students who acknowledged the benefits of the information they acquired from the presentation also indicated a willingness and desire to go out of their way to help victims of bullying.

External Reviews

Affiliations & Memberships

American Psychological Association

Financials

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Yes