Maria’s Voice Receives Federal Grant To Jumpstart Domestic Violence Prevention Efforts
Maple Grove chiropractor Dr. Cydney Jean stepped to the microphone Thursday evening to speak to a crowd gathered for the fourth annual domestic violence vigil organized by Maria’s Voice.
She said she doesn’t normally like to speak in front of large groups. She feels she does her best work is one-on-one with her patients at The Movement Chiropractic and Wellness.
“We have this wonderful platform and we need to use it to promote the things we need to promote,” said Dr. Jean, joined by her business co-founder and husband, Kevin, at the vigil.
The Jeans only recently became aware of the work Maria’s Voice does to promote prevention and awareness of domestic violence. The nonprofit was formed by the parents of Maria Pew, the Maple Grove woman who was murdered by her husband in 2020.
“Seeing and learning about Maria’s Voice and what their goal is, and to really compare it to ours, it really seemed to fit what we do and how we like to take care of our patients, as well,” said Jean.
“Everybody can do something about this,” said Maria’s Voice Executive Director Twila Johnson. “One in three women, one in four men, are victims of domestic violence on some level.”
Maria’s Voice recently received a $250,000 grant through the office of U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips and the U.S. Department of Justice to help expand its Prevention Training Network.
The money will help the nonprofit provide training and resources to businesses, governments, schools, and other organizations across 15 different cities in Phillips’ Third Congressional District.
“This is transformational for our communities and this allows Maria’s Voice to grow to our full potential as well,” said Lissa Weimelt, Maria’s mother who co-founded the nonprofit along with her husband, Bill Pew.
“We’re really on the cutting edge of letting people know that this is a chosen behavior,” said Weimelt. “It can be prevented.”
Johnson pointed to the work Maple Grove police are already doing through partnering with Maria’s Voice as a kind of blueprint for what else they want to bring to the Twin Cities community.
“We have an amazing police department and a chief who will not tolerate this and who’s done an amazing job teaching his officers and his staff and first responders what to do and to make sure they know these people can be prosecuted,” said Johnson. “Ultimately that is the key.”
After connecting with Weimelt and Pew and the work they’re doing, the Jeans feel like they are better prepared to spot what’s going on with their patients and perhaps how to help.
“I don’t think I would have been able to see the signs,” said Cydney Jean. “Meeting them and Maria’s Voice and learning more about the prevention network that they’re striving so hard to do has really opened our eyes.”