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Teen Dating Education Programs

22 May 2017 | 12:00 pm

During their teen years, youth are learning how to navigate their first relationships, frequently without guidance.  Teens experience some of the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, with 1 in 3 reporting abuse from a dating partner. 

February was Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and we partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam teen center - The VAULT to bring Chalk About Love to our teens locally.  In this national campaign, teens write their feelings about love in chalk to encourage conversation about healthy relationships.  Some of the teens’ messages included:  “Love means to love everyone for who they are” and “Love is respect for others.”  Click here to read more about Chalk About Love.

Out of this partnership, we collaborated with the ABC House to co-facilitate a weekly support group for middle school girls that was hosted at the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam.  Topics discussed ranged from healthy relationships to positive self-image, and staying safe online. These groups give the teens a safe place to talk about their relationships: dating, peer, parents, and others. We also discuss bullying, confidence, and stress management.

The ideas that young people form about dating in these early years will impact their relationships into their adulthood.   This is why it is so important to define consent, coercion, and emphasize everyone’s right to say no. 

CARDV is receiving more requests from schools, usually health classes, to talk with students grades 7-12 about teen dating violence and healthy relationships.   CARDV Advocates facilitate these discussions, as well as ways individuals can get help if needed, and how to support a friend.  Teachers keep the dialog going so these important topics can be revisited. 

This last spring another exciting opportunity came through South Albany High School’s pilot program Rebel’s Rising, which offered students enrichment and academic-based activities.  For six weeks, students could choose from after-school sessions as varied as computer programming, art, financial literacy, academic tutoring and more.  CARDV was invited to host weekly sessions on dating violence and sexual assault.  A few of the topics covered during the six-week program included:  healthy relationships, teen dating violence, consent, and how to help a friend. 
With over 30 students attending the CARDV sessions, we are looking forward to returning next year!

As the school year comes to a close, it’s not too early to start talking with your school’s leadership about including these conversations in next year’s classroom plan.  If you are a teacher or school principal and would like to request a presentation click here.

Starting the conversation now with our youth is crucial in raising a generation that works to end violence!

For more information,  please use the following links:

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