By Trisha Schafer, Signature Program Committee Teen Dating Violence Advisor

Outreach to 12-18 year-olds is critical for domestic violence prevention! Knowing the danger signs of an abusive relationship will reduce the risk of young people becoming involved in an abusive relationship or becoming an abuser themselves.

That’s why I’m asking you to add organizing a Teen Dating and Education Awareness Challenge Project to your 2021 task list right now. Young people need a forum to seek help when coping with anxiety, bullying, anger, and other issues that today’s adolescents face.

Start a conversation in your club about Healthy Teen Relationships. What does a healthy relationship look like? What resources are available for teens in your area? Where can we find subject matter experts (certified teen counselors or those focused on domestic violence, rape crisis, or sexual assault)?

Contact GFWC’s Affiliate Organization Prevent Child Abuse American (PCAA), as well as the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence (NCDSV), and Teen Dating – Break the Silence, Futures Without Violence, to order Healthy Teen Relationship materials.

Together, we can make a difference! Start planning a Healthy Teen Relationships Forum and give teens and their parents the resources they need. Go to your local middle and high schools … but don’t stop there. Reach out to youth groups, Girl and Boy Scout troops, and community centers as well!

February is Teen Violence Awareness Month, and I look forward to reading some great success stories on the GFWC Blog. Email PR@GFWC.org a summary of your project and how it made a difference. To be considered for publication, all photos of people under age 18 must include an email from a parent or legal guardian granting you permission to publish it in a public communication.