Waltham High Peer Leaders Hold Annual “PAVE Day”
Last Friday, February 17th, the Waltham High School Peer Leaders hosted their second annual PAVE Day at Waltham High. Waltham High PAVE, which stands for Peers Against ViolencE, is a peer leadership program coordinated by REACH’s Youth Education Specialist focused on promoting healthy relationships and preventing dating violence. Students who participate in this program are known as Peer Leaders.
Last year, the Peer Leaders chose to prioritize spreading awareness about dating violence, as well as the work Waltham High School PAVE was doing to combat it. They decided to host a “PAVE Day” at the school, where they would ask students, staff, and teachers to wear purple to show support for healthy relationships and respect for those impacted by unhealthy relationships. They held the event in February, in honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. It was a big success, and an annual tradition was born.
In addition to asking Waltham High students and staff to wear purple, PAVE Day also included activities during all three Waltham High lunch periods. This year, students and staff had the opportunity to participate in a several ways. Students and staff could sign a pledge to support Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and receive a purple ribbon. Another option was to write down qualities of a healthy relationship on colorful post-it notes and add them to a “Healthy Relationships =” banner, creating a word-art collage identifying components of healthy relationships. Peer leaders walked around the cafeteria asking students to answer questions about healthy relationships and dating violence in exchange for candy and purple beads.
According to Dani Patrick, REACH’s Youth Education Specialist, “One of the biggest successes of PAVE Day is that it has been student designed and driven. The WHS peer leaders have been central to making PAVE Day happen, from brainstorming ideas at meetings to writing an email to school staff. They made hundreds of purple ribbons, designed and put up posters, wrote announcements, and posted on their @whspave Twitter account leading up to the event. We are proud of the work they have done to spread awareness about these important issues for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.”