Love Without Hurt Teen Advisory Board: Party to Prevent
A Peacemaking Project by Emily S.
What is the injustice we are solving?
The project aims to empower teens in our community through education on teen dating violence. Currently 1 and 3 teenage girls and 1 and 5 teenage boys experience teen dating abuse and despite Ohio laws regarding required education on this epidemic, teenagers are still not receiving the education they deserve. This lack of knowledge causes so many preventable tragedies and devastation to so many teens emotional and physical well being due to violence. It is our mission to spread knowledge, educating from a fun, teen perspective so that young teens can help to prevent teen dating abuse and help friends to overcome these situations. Through empowerment we also hope to build up the confidence of young teens so they are less vulnerable to being trapped in a cycle of manipulation and abuse. Through our 2nd annual Party to Prevent, my teen advisory board and I aim to reach these goals.
Our Compassionate Solution:
To solve this injustice of Teen Dating Abuse
we will address The lack of education of teenagers on this issue to help themselves and others, enabling them to recognize dangerous warning signs, identify the cycle of abuse, and safely leave an abusive relationship.
by Putting on our 2nd annual Party to Prevent, an event planned and run by teens for teens featuring education and empowerment in a fun and positive environment.
Our Project Plan:
- Raise teen dating abuse awareness in our community through peer-to-peer discussion and education, as well as, the perspective of a variety of speakers impacted by teen dating violence.
- By April 20th of this year holding our 2nd annual Party to Prevent we aim to increase attendance from 50 attendees last year and measure the impact through evaluations following the event regarding new knowledge, perspective, and awareness on the topic.
- Obtain support from Peace First through a mini-grant and receive donations from local businesses to enhance the event.
- We aim to empower teens in the community with knowledge to safely avoid or exit an abusive relationship, or provide peers with help to do so. This will reduce dating violence in the Columbus community and in the community high schools.
We will increase my / our compassion by...
My teen advisory board and the community teens in attendance will increase our compassion by listening to the diverse perspectives of a panel of speakers impacted by abusive relationships and teen dating violence. Listening to speakers including a member of the LBGTQ community who experienced an abusive relationship, mothers of both a male and female who faced teen dating violence. and a female survivor of dating violence will expand our empathy and compassion by understanding the experiences of others from different backgrounds. The speakers will help teens to understand how very real the issue of teen dating violence is despite the public education system's avoidance of the topic and realize how the issue can affect all individuals regardless of race, gender, socio-economic class, or sexual orientation.
How will you show courage?
My teen advisory board will show courage by speaking out against the issue of teen dating violence and encouraging all teens to attend the event and receive this essential education, although it may at times feel uncomfortable and daunting to address the issue of dating violence. We feel it is essential to not let abusive relationships go untalked about and will use courage to bring this topic to light in order to bring about positive change.
How will you collaborate with others?
Collaboration is an essential element of the success of our initiative, as President, I have collaborated with my strong fellow board members to plan a fun and impactful event and with our local community center to have an amazing space donated for the event. My board and I plan to reach out to local high schools to advertise our event to their students, reach out to local businesses for resources to enhance our event, collaborate with diverse and knowledgeable to speakers increase compassion of our attendees, and of course we will collaborate with the teen community members in attendance, bringing them into essential discussions to develop a new perspective towards teen dating abuse.
How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)
The success of our event in our goals of increasing compassion and awareness of teen dating abuse and spreading essential knowledge to teens in order to reduce dating violence in our community will be measured through evaluations provided for teens in attendance regarding changes in knowledge and perspective following the event. In addition, the number of attendees returning to the event from last year, due to the impact they feel they have received will provide a measure of our community impact through the Party to Prevent project.
- My Teen Board and I will conclude planning the event, including finalizing all panel speakers, putting together all videos and education in a cohesive presentation, finalizing games to facilitate discussion, and all other elements of the event.
- My Teen Board and I will organize a photo booth with impactful and inspiring messages to increase awareness on social media, find decorations for the event, and organize essential resources with information and emergency contacts for our resource table.
- We will contact local businesses to provide resources for the event, including raffle prizes as initiative for attendees to bring new stuffed animals to be delivered to the Center of Family Safety and Healing, serving child victims of domestic violence.
- We will contact local high schools to promote our flier on their website, and as my Teen Board goes to a variety of high schools we will hang fliers in our schools and advocate for promotion of the event on the school's daily announcements.
How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?
Organizing meaningful and thought-provoking training tools for the event including videos, games, and other resources gave my team and I a new perspective on the most effective teen dating abuse prevention education. During the event, engaging in discussion and hearing new ideas from attendees gave us a greater understanding of the community's views towards dating violence. Finally, in my opinion, the most impactful and eye-opening experience was hearing from the strong and amazing panel of speakers, who were so kind to educate us on the struggles they faced, but also their strength on the road to recovery. It was amazing to hear how these survivors have reclaimed their lives, several dedicating their lives to preventing teens from falling into the same abusive patterns, which tore them completely down as a person. Hearing these first-hand accounts left my team with a deeper understanding of the importance of the issue of dating violence.
How did your community change as a result of your project?
Bringing together a diverse group of teens from across the community to discuss and educate them to respect themselves and others, build up a sense of self-worth, and strive to prevent physical, verbal, and emotional violence, had a very positive impact on our community. Discussions and education like this lay the foundation for a positive, compassionate, and supportive environment in our community, enabling individuals to feel more love for themselves and becoming less vulnerable to others taking advantage of them in a dating relationship. This also ensures there is a positive support system to help teens in our community struggling with an abusive relationship.
How many people were impacted by your project?
In addition to those directly impacted, are there additional people you feel were indirectly indirectly impacted or reached? If so, how many? (This might include people who read about your project, families of people that attended your workshops or received services, etc.)
Our project impacted the 10 members of the teen advisory board, 55 attendees, and 10 parents to gain a deeper understanding of dating violence and how to help themselves and others, the 5 speakers on our panel, as it was very healing for them to share their story and inspire others, and the 30 children served by the Center for Family Safety and Healing who endured some form of domestic violence, by receiving a stuffed animal which was donated during the event. The individuals attending the event will further impact others in our community, their knowledge of dating violence, including warning signs, the cycle of abuse, and methods of safely exiting the relationship, allowing them to help their friends and family members to avoid or safely exit an abusive relationship.
How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?
My team and I were so grateful to connect with the inspiring and wonderful speakers and learned so much about the devastating impacts of teen dating violence from their stories. Seeing the strength of these individuals as they rebuilt their lives and self-worth and dedicated themselves to helping others, enabled my team to learn about the individuals affected by dating violence and the journey they face from complete powerlessness to reaching a point of strength and self-love.
What did your team learn?
By speaking with these amazing survivors by team understood on a deeper level the devastating negative effects of another individual in a dating relationship seizing complete power and control over a victim's life leaving them powerless, afraid, and trapped in a vicious cycle of abuse. We learned how vital it is to spread awareness to prevent relationships from reaching this extreme point, and how we must reach out and be there for those who seem to be losing their sense of self. Hearing the speaker's path to recovery as they found the strength within themselves or received help from their loved ones inspired us and reminded us of the vital importance of patience and dedicated assistance throughout the long journey to recovery. Seeing the attendees discuss and gain understanding on the vital issue of domestic violence, helped us to learn how important further educations and training will be in our community.
What challenges did your team overcome?
Since the event was planned towards the end of the year, which our team later realized had many conflicts with school sports, recruiting attendees for the event was a major challenge. It was difficult to convince teens to sacrifice their Friday night for an educational event, so we learned to make the event fun and exciting to convince teens to attend. Our recruiting efforts paid off and many teens had very positive feedback about the positive experience they had!
How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?
In planning and running the project I ensured all members had a role during the event to have their voices heard and expand themselves as a leader. The speakers, donors, our venue: The Heit Center for Healthy New, and our beneficiary Center for Family Safety and Healing, all served an important role within the event and were impacted by the opportunity to be involved in spreading awareness on such an important cause.
What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?
Find an injustice in your community that you are truly passionate about and start making small goals to gradually start making a difference in your own community. It is so important to form relationships with leaders of charitable organizations and make connections that can offer support! Never give up and always remember how your hard work no matter how tedious is making a crucial difference in the life of someone else or in the community. Believe in your ability to make a difference!