Letter: Benjamin committed to better community

From: Jo Anne Friedgood of Columbus

and Mary Jane Shireman of Hartsville

As chairwoman of the Domestic Violence Action Team, Kelly Benjamin was an integral part of bringing Safe Dates to Central Middle School and later to other Bartholomew County schools. Safe Dates is an evidence-based program that educates students about dating violence awareness and healthy relationships. She worked closely with counselors, teachers and others to implement this program in eighth-grade health classes.

Kelly’s commitment and dedication to this project were unwavering. She helped deliver Safe Dates curriculum and train over 20 community members from an array of organizations. She served as the primary presenter to students, every quarter of the school year since 2009, helping students process a difficult topic with clarity and gentleness. Much to her credit, over 2,100 Central Middle School students have completed eighth grade with a greater understanding of the legal and personal impact of domestic violence and an understanding of what healthy relationships look like. Her ability to bring so many people together for the common good speaks to the level of respect she has earned from many stakeholders in our community.

She has been recognized locally, statewide and nationally for her contributions in the area of domestic violence education and support. She continues to be an important resource for both staff and students. Kelly Benjamin has consistently demonstrated she will be tirelessly committed to being a positive force in our community through fairness and equitable treatment of all individuals.