Taking on Domestic Violence, a team of six members and BYU-Idaho students, started in Feb. 2017 and has the goal of giving power back to victims rather than focusing on the abusers.
This is one of the many programs designed and created by students on campus addressing several topics ranging from domestic violence to local refugees.
Kamryn Shepherd, one of the team members of the nonprofit organization and a junior studying communication, said their goal is “to lower the number of abusers.”
“The issue of domestic violence seems to be swept under the rug,” Shepherd said.
Shepherd said Taking on Domestic Violence is addressing this problem with a different approach.
Rather than focusing on the victim and abuser after the incidents, they want to focus on preventing domestic violence altogether.
Mitchell Taylor, one of the teammates a junior studying business management, said, “Between 2001 and 2012 nearly double the amount of people were killed here in America by the effects of domestic violence than those killed overseas in the war on terror.”
Shepherd said one-third of BYU-Idaho students randomly surveyed by their organization were victims of domestic violence, and every student surveyed had a family member or friend that was a victim.
Taylor said she was told by a Rexburg police officer that the department gets three or four calls daily from domestic violence victims.
Shepherd said Taking on Domestic Violence plans on targeting and teaching local high school students and educating them on how to recognize domestic violence and what it is.
Taking on Domestic Violence began in a design thinking class taught by Justin Morris, a design and construction management professor, in Winter Semester 2017.
“We’ve really seen the hand of God in creating this organization,” Taylor said. “It’s been a miracle.”
However, Taking on Domestic Violence is not the only student run organization trying to make a difference at BYU-I.
Lok Darjee, a sophomore studying physics, has also created an organization to make a difference called Project R.
Project R is an organization to help Syrian refugee youth adjust to their new life in the United States.
Darjee grew up in Nepal and came to the U.S. about seven years ago.
Darjee said as a refugee, he knows what it is like leaving home and coming to live in another country. He wants to help the youth adjust.
Darjee is the original founder of Project R. It is an organization that gets refugee youth involved with the community and gives them opportunities to learn how to further their education.
“More importantly, I want them to have opportunities to be leaders,” Darjee said.
Darjee said Project R hopes to get more attention and volunteers from students, professors and residents.
He hopes to bring people together to have the experience of meeting new people from across the globe and helping refugees get on their feet in this new life.
Darjee said many people think refugees come to the U.S. to use the welfare system, or that they are poor because it is their own fault.
“They are victims of war,” Darjee said. “They are victims of terrorism.”
According to idahorefugees.org, for a refugee to become eligible to come to the U.S. they must go through a rigorous process of approval. A person must first apply for refugee status through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
If approved by proving they were forced to flee from home, they may be assigned another home.
For refugees that come to the U.S., the person must go through a thorough background check and interview with a specially trained Department of Homeland Security officer, followed by a medical exam.
For more information on how to get involved with Taking on Domestic Violence, find them on Facebook at facebook.com/TakingOnDV.
For more information on how to get involved with Project R, email Lok Darjee at firstname.lastname@example.org.