The Green Dot GNV training program is designed to eradicate violence in public housing and all communities

Residents of properties operated by the Gainesville Housing Authority were recognized for participating in the Green Dot GNV training program.

The program is designed to eradicate violence in public housing and all communities, and on Thursday, local officials joined state and federal officials at Oak Park apartments at 100 NE Eighth Ave. to recognize the more than 50 Gainesville Housing Authority residents and others who have completed the training.

“There’s one thing about the Green Dot training — it helps to stop violence,” said Peggy Manning, a resident of Sunshine Park apartments at 1901 NW Second St. “But, you have to go to all the classes to learn about it. The classes teach us how to help each other and stop violence.”

Hans Havlykke, who manages the Green Dot program in 13 counties for the Florida Department of Health, attended the ceremony with officials from the U.S. Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. Though the officials were not allowed to speak about the program publicly, they mingled with public housing residents and visited public housing sites operated by the Gainesville Housing Authority.

Tina Certain, a member of the Alachua County School Board, was one of the event's speakers, and she talked about her experience attending one of the Green Dot training sessions.

“It was very enlightening going through the training,” Certain said. “I encourage people to attend the Green Dot training, and they should take as many people with them as possible. It’s all about stopping violence in our communities. They give you the strategies needed to diffuse situations that can become violent and teach you how to deal with situations that are already violent.”

Tammy Carmichael, a program development manager with the Alachua County Health Department, said members of the Southwest Advocacy Group (SWAG) and Greater Duval Neighborhood Association were interested in learning more about the Green Dot program when she introduced it to them. She also said barbers and stylists in Gainesville have agreed to participate in an event billed as the “Fading Out Violence Expo” to be held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Bo Diddley Downtown Community Plaza at 111 E. University Ave.

Pamela Koons, a spokeswoman for the Gainesville Housing Authority, said residents who complete the “Green Dot GNV End the Violence” training will receive a sticker to put on windows in their home to let the public know they won't stand for violence in their communities.

“Our goal is to have a Green Dot sticker in every home,” Koons said.