The Hope and Justice staff meet once a month to discuss varioust topics that effect the region. This month, they are spending a lot of time talking about Teen Dating Violence Awareness month.
Rebekah Shaw, Prevention Specialist, says, “We provide education to students, the community and we also participate in social media campaign called the wave of change.”
And they don’t just educate students, they also educate parents. They say it’s important to talk to parents on how to communicate with their teens on healthy relationships.
Julie French Relationship Educator says, “Open up the discussion in a nonjudgmental way, no finger pointing saying I don't like your boyfriend or girlfriend anyway. I would ask open ended questions as a parent to my teen who is a little more private about the relationship and pose questions like. How do you feel the relationship is going? How does the relationship make you feel?
Besides asking open ended questions, they provide several resources for teens and parents to talk about the issue or issues teens may be having.
Leslie Gervais says, “this is our parents kids and dating brochure and it is a very helpful tool for parents to use with their teens it helps them to recognize abuse and reject it and respond to it.”
They don't only focus on unhealthy relationships, they also want students to see and understand the positive relationships.
French says, “it's not just about what abuse is and how not to treat your partner but also the positive side of relationships the great part about relationships the support and the joy that can come from dating relationships.“
Shaw wants students do the wave to say that they are participating to change and end dating violence.
Finally, the Hope and Justice Project would like to challenge local businesses, and community member to support Teen Dating Violence Awareness month by doing the wave and posting to social media, using #waveofchange.