SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Schriever’s Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Airman and Family Readiness Center partnered with Peterson Air Force Base’s Family Advocacy Program to hold a teen dating seminar at Ellicott High School, Feb. 7.
February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and the agencies banded together to reach out to locals schools to bring awareness to teen violence.
Monica Ibarra, Family Advocacy Intervention Specialist, 21st Medical Group had the idea and asked Schriever SAPR and AFRC to participate.
“Teen dating violence is a community concern, and teens are somewhat reluctant to talk about it,” she said. “We wanted to bring the message to the Ellicott schools in an open, positive and interactive manner that would raise students' awareness to the subject. It's so important to have someone willing to start the conversation.”
According to the team, violent behavior often begins between the ages of 12-18. In addition, the severity of partner violence is worse when the pattern of abuse began in adolescence.
“Teen dating violence, unfortunately, does happen,” Ibarra said. “However, if we bring the conversation to the forefront, teach youth about healthy versus unhealthy relationships, We can provide them with resources of people and/or agencies that they can talk to or turn to for help.”
The team’s hope is to make a positive impact by empowering youth to improve their safety and overall health and well-being.
“It is important that young people are educated about what a healthy relationship looks like as well as signs of abuse and/or an unhealthy relationship,” said Paula Krause, program manager with the 50th Space Wing Sexual Assault Response program.
The coalition reached approximately 200 students at Ellicott High School with their interactive “Jeopardy” themed training which took place during the seminar.
“They were amazing.” Krause said. “The high school counselor was very helpful and the administration was more than willing to allow us to come and present to the students. We have a presentation with the middle schoolers next week.”
“The students were definitely an interactive audience; it was apparent that our questions generated thought-provoking opportunities for them and we were able to get the conversation going,” Ibarra said. “It was fantastic to see such great participation from the students and them discussing an uncomfortable subject so openly.”
The team will conduct their next session with the Ellicott middle schoolers Feb. 22. They hope to make this an annual event with Ellicott School District.