Thanks to an ongoing grant from Community Health Network Area 17, our work with the Waltham High Peer Leaders continued during the summer months. Six rising seniors came to our office for forty hours over five weeks to learn about dating and domestic violence, trauma, children who witness violence, sexual assault, privilege and oppression, media literacy and bystander intervention. They also attended the break up summit hosted by the Boston Public Health Commission’s Start Strong Initiative together, and engaged in some strategic planning for the upcoming year. They are headed into the school year with a clear vision for recruiting new participants for PAVE (Peers Against ViolencE) and organizing to promote healthy relationships and prevent dating abuse among their peers.
Here is what some of the peer leaders had to say about their experience this summer, in their own words:
“The PAVE summer training helped me recognize the stereotypes subtly embedded in the majority of media directed to all ages. I also have become more aware of the signs of dating violence and notice them in TV and songs.”
“Summer training with PAVE has been such an incredible experience for me. The people that I’ve gotten to know from the program REACH in the past two months have been some of the most kind and amazing individuals I’ve ever met. The program has opened my eyes to one of the most infamous issues that affects people daily, that issue being domestic violence. My goal as a PAVE leader is to help spread awareness of this issue so I can help create a healthier environment for the people in my high school and in my community”
“I found that training with PAVE was incredibly eye opening. Learning about the often overlooked and very under reported issue of domestic violence has made me much more aware of the signs and has shown me how to help those who’ve gone through it. As a PAVE leader, I will spread awareness to createa better environment for my community.”
If you’re interested in learning more about what you can do to promote healthy relationships among the teens in your life, please contact Colleen Armstrong, Education Program Manager, at 781.891.0724 x119 or colleen @ reachma.org for more information.