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The Ursinus College Peer Advocates welcomed Project Healing Hive to campus on Sunday, November 14th, to bring awareness to domestic violence. Students from across campus gathered on the Patterson Track in the bitter cold to walk “a mile in someone else’s shoes.” Students got to hear stories of survivors and walk in unity with their community. Project Healing Hive is a Phoenixville-based nonprofit organization that promotes holistic alternative approaches to trauma healing. The Ursinus Peer Advocates and Project Healing Hive partnered together, intending to spread knowledge to students on campus about domestic violence and introduce them to local resources.
Katie Bean, the Director of Prevention and Advocacy at Ursinus, has worked tirelessly alongside the Ursinus administration and Peer Advocates over the past few years to create programs for all students. When it comes to issues like domestic violence and noticing the warning signs in our friends and peers, it is not as simple as knowing when or even how to intervene. Peer Advocate member Brooke Schultz ‘22 noted first-hand how complicated this process can be for students. “The peer advocate’s work helps students see the differences between red and green flags in relationships in their day-to-day lives. It’s often difficult for someone in a situation of domestic violence to see the truth of what is happening. The prevention work that the peer advocates do is intended to help educate our peers so that they can see it when it happens. And most importantly, it helps survivors see that domestic violence is not their fault.”
Bean has begun to break the stigma for students that staying silent is the best way to “help” in these types of situations. Students at Ursinus are required to complete two online EverFi training modules each semester on topics such as sexual assault prevention and healthy relationships. Bean hopes that introducing these trainings is one way to help them “normalize talking about these issues and give students the language to talk openly with each other. All the EverFi modules are based in Bystander Intervention, so the main goal is to educate and provide strategies for how to reach out and help a friend with identifying warning signs as the first step in intervention.” By introducing students to resources at our school and within the community, we as a small college are making significant strides to advocate for those around us.
Kristen Morris-Yehiel, the Founder and President of Project Healing Hive, is a survivor of domestic violence. She and her daughter pursued their healing through non-conventional treatment options. Morris-Yehiel discovered that the need for more options for mental health services was growing steadily at the local level when it came to individuals and their families. Project Healing Hive was created to fill that void for so many. “Our hope is that the community gains awareness and education on the gaps in the mental health system and the benefits of utilizing holistic therapies with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Also, accessibility matters! Especially to individuals and families that are uninsured or experiencing financial hardship … studies have found that these individuals are at a higher need for mental health services than those with private or employee health insurance.”
In March of 2021, PHH at the Heart opened in Phoenixville, PA. With the opening of their first private practice location, Project Healing Hive can now service the community with both in-person and virtual therapy services and workshops. “Since opening our private practice in March of 2021, we have provided over $6,000 in service grants to individuals and families in need. Twenty new individuals and families benefited from our private therapy and alternative care programs this year. And PHH partnered with two local nonprofits, one national nonprofit, reached five US states and three countries since the COVID-19 pandemic through telehealth increasing the accessibility to mental health services and resources both locally and worldwide,” Morris-Yehiel stated. Their impact to our local community and the community at large has been substantial.