Tempe, Kyrene unit supporting woman’s anti-violence campaign

An article on violence prevention in the Journal of the American Psychological Association has led one woman to pursue her passion to increase awareness about the effects of violence among Arizona’s youngest population.

With a doctorate in psychology, Mary Arredondo has made a two-year commitment to educate Arizona communities about violence, using what is known in education circles as the Adults and Children Together Training Program. 

The program, which has gained support of Tempe/Kyrene Communities in Schools, aims to educate professionals, childcare employees and parents on the importance of how to prevent child abuse and/or violence. 

“This program increases awareness on how important it is to start violence prevention at birth,” said Lynette Stonefeld, director of the communities in schools organization. 

“Exposure to violence in the early years impacts children’s abilities to think, feel, trust and relate to others.”

Arredondo says her efforts are based on her experience as a former school psychologist.

“I have seen an increase in childhood aggression and behavior problems in many schools. Parents and adults caring for children are the most influential teachers of young children,” she says.
“That’s why it’s important to address early violence prevention between infancy and eight years of age.”

With experience training community members throughout the state, Arredondo and Denise Lopez, president of the Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children, conducted the ACT training on Jan. 13. Currently, the class is full due to the overwhelming number of applicants for the training.

“There has been an increase in research stating that exposure to violence alone, through media or domestic violence in the home, does impact a child’s earliest development from zero to eight years,” said Arredondo. 

The goal of the ACT training is to make child abuse more visible in the community, and garner community members to participate in efforts preventing child abuse before it starts.