Melissa Echerd, our Education and Outreach Coordinator, goes into nine of our Hendricks County schools each year to talk about teen dating violence. She talks about what one should expect out of a healthy relationship, as well as red flags to look for in unhealthy relationships. These teens are in relationships that are setting the foundation of accepted behaviors for their current and future relationships. This is why it is so important to have discussions about relationships with teens.
Melissa is in each school three to five days. Typically at the beginning of the sessions, the students are fairly quiet and reserved. However, by the end of the program, they are much more engaged and freely ask questions about their relationships.
One of the most memorable moments in the last year was when the class ended and a young man approached Melissa asking if he could talk to her. Of course she said yes and what unfolded next was a teenage boy identifying that the red flags Melissa had talked about were things occurring in his relationship with his girlfriend. The biggest realization? He was the perpetrator. He had been repeating what was modeled to him and didn’t realize that what he was doing was unhealthy, let alone signs of abuse. He asked Melissa how he could get help so he could end these behaviors. What an opportunity for us to share love, truth and help for those in need!
P.S. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month. Our youth council, Teens that Talk, is doing fundraisers in their respective schools and we’re hosting an all-school convocation at Tri-West High School to talk about healthy relationships. Check us out on social media to stay in-the-know of what is happening. @shelteringwings @teensthattalk