The Appalachian Peace and Justice Network (APJN) is a non-profit organization with the mission of empowering and challenging groups and individuals to work for peace and social justice. APJN was established in 1984 during a nuclear freeze campaign by a visionary director of the United Campus Ministry at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Since then, the organization has grown from a volunteer organization to employing several staff and expanding their anti-violence based outreach activities.
Although APJN began as a peace and justice networking organization, over the years, APJN initiatives expanded to include educational, training and coalition-building activities aimed at addressing the root causes of violence and militarism. Such activities included education aiming to foster respect for diversity, increase people’s knowledge and skills to solve problems, and foster independent, creative and critical thinking. Part of this expansion also included the migration of the Sexual Assault Prevention Program (SAPP) to APJN from Tri-County Mental Health and Counseling in 2012.
Through targeted efforts in primary violence prevention education, SAPP serves targeted populations, schools and communities at large in the rural, Appalachian counties of Athens, Meigs, Hocking, and Vinton. SAPP aims to address the root causes of interpersonal violence through the implementation and evaluation of primary prevention curricula targeting several forms of violence including abuse, bullying, militarism, and sexual and intimate partner violence. They accomplish this through the work of qualified staff which include Mara Giglio, B. A. (APJN Director, Certified Second Step Trainer and Educator, and Mediator for Athens Area Mediation Service), Jennifer Seifert, Ph. D. (SAPP Program Manager) and several contract educators who implement both established (e.g., Safe Dates, Second Step, bystander intervention, etc.) and modified primary intervention curricula.