YWCA Spokane’s Prevention Team Celebrates the Recent Successful Completion of an Educational Series at John R. Rogers High School Focused on Health Relationships & Dating Violence
During the spring semester, the YWCA Spokane Prevention Team spent one day a week for five weeks with students in a Rogers High School health class talking about healthy relationships and dating violence.
Using the Safe Dates curriculum, an evidence-based publication from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, the team enjoyed the opportunity of working with 6 different class periods each week where topics such as Defining Caring Relationships, Red Flags, Digital Dating Abuse, and How To Help A Friend were covered.
Prevention Team Member Highlights
Today, we would like to highlight three members of our Prevention Team, Domestic Violence Legal Advocates Tiffany and Yessie and Youth Advocate Susanna, who co-facilitated the sessions at Rogers High School with YWCA Prevention Specialists and primary prevention educators Liz and Caroline. Their efforts as a valued part of our Prevention Team and their contributions towards rich dialog and powerful engagement with youth is incredibly valued and appreciated.
Tiffany is the Legal Advocate Manager at YWCA Spokane. While she is not new to facilitating Prevention education, she had only utilized Safe Dates once prior to these 5 weeks. She has a talent for relating to students of various ages and meeting them where they’re at–emotionally, mentally, and energetically. Her ability to do this allows her to explain complex concepts in ways that are digestible for specific audiences. She won’t “sugarcoat” the truth about dating violence or the criminal justice aspect of domestic violence, yet gentleness and care are built into the foundation of her approach to this work. Tiffany is able to ask questions that guide students’ discussions through a critical thinking lens. She shows her understanding of the art and science of prevention work through her intentional vulnerability and group management. It is a true pleasure to witness Tiffany in the role of a prevention educator.
For Yessie, Legal Advocate, this was her first time facilitating prevention education. Yessie strikes a perfect balance of personability while making sure all the key points of a session are covered. Her strong suits of patience and woo were on display as she responded to individual students coming up to us after class with specific, personal questions as well as when she redirected the class’s attention to our discussion. Before each session started, Yessie asked students to share what their biggest takeaway from the last week was, which eased us and the students back into the important discussion we were there to have. During the first session, we create ground rules with the students that are in place for all to feel as comfortable as possible while talking about dating violence. Yessie seamlessly integrated these ground rules throughout our weekly discussions–for example, when we discussed feeling and dealing with anger, Yessie empowered the students to be respectful and mindful of their own needs, reminding them of the importance of taking care of ourselves, too. Yessie presents as a safe person, which helped students feel comfortable enough to stay after class and ask personal questions individually.
Susanna, our Youth Advocate, quickly found her footing in her first experience as a facilitator. Susanna brings a calming presence to her facilitation style. This is an incredible asset due to the nature of our conversations. We come into Rogers High School classrooms as strangers and begin conversations about dating violence–sometimes this is the first time students are putting the pieces together about their friends’ relationships, their own relationships, or even what’s going on at home. Susanna’s demeanor neutralizes this gray area, serving as a great comfort for the space. Susanna meets one-on-one with youth ages 4-18 who have witnessed violence in their homes, providing emotional support, safety planning, service referrals, and more. Her daily practice with empowering youth and having these kinds of conversations was on display as she carefully navigated questions and comments throughout each session. Having Susanna in class also put a face to a service that was offered to the students–if they were experiencing violence in their home and needed support, they were already familiar with the person that they would be meeting with.
“We are incredibly grateful for this partnership with Rogers High School and for our entire Prevention Team”, stated Lizbeth, YWCA Prevention Specialist. “It is so rewarding to get to work together and with youth as we explore and normalize topics that don’t get discussed enough.”
About Our Prevention Work
Because rates of domestic violence are so prevalent in our community, our Prevention team directs its efforts toward preventing the growth of this trend. The Safe Dates curriculum highlights skills recommended by the CDC for preventing dating abuse including building healthy relationships and feeling/dealing with emotions in a healthy way. It also debunks myths surrounding dating violence and provides tips for helping a friend who is experiencing dating violence, whether the friend is the perpetrator or the victim. Preventing dating abuse and domestic violence relies on building skills and awareness, both of which take time, repetition, and intentional discussions. Safe Dates fits well within the Spokane Public Schools curriculum as its breadth includes topics of human growth and development, social emotional learning, and educational technology.
Help Promote Healthy Relationships In Spokane
If your youth-based school, organization, club, or group would like learn more about services available through YWCA’s Prevention Team efforts please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Consider also signing up for one of our free trainings offered online to learn more about intimate partner domestic violence.
If you need assistance with a protection order due to intimate partner domestic violence, or if you are the listed victim in a criminal case and you need to speak to an advocate, please call 509-477-3656 option #1. To make an appointment or inquire about youth advocacy services with Susanna, please call 509-326-1190.
YWCA Spokane’s free and confidential 24hr helpline services are also available 365 days a year by calling 509-326-2255, texting 509-220-3725, or emailing email@example.com. Check out an overview of all YWCA’s free services and programs.