On Sunday, June 9, family and friends gathered at JF&CS Headquarters to celebrate the accomplishments of 18 Jewish teenage girls who participated in Journey to Safety’s TeenSafe, the agency’s teen dating abuse prevention program At the celebration, the participants spoke about lessons learned and the impact the group had on their perspective. One TeenSafe member was asked to explain why it was important for her to be in TeenSafe and what skills she gained. She eloquently responded:
“Over the course of my time in TeenSafe I have learned a substantial amount about teen dating abuse. Personally, the matter of dating abuse means a lot to me and I am glad TeenSafe gives me and the rest of the girls in our group a chance to spread awareness about the issue. At TeenSafe we learn about self-respect, healthy relationships, warning signs of abuse, and appropriate ways to address the issue with our friends. At seventeen, I have the awareness and skills about an issue few girls my age have. I feel comfortable giving other girls and boys advice and talking to them about such a sensitive yet serious topic. I also have gained leadership skills because of the presentations that we give to the Greater Boston community. I now know how to speak about dating abuse publically and I am very thankful for that.”
Funded with a generous grant from the Boston Jewish Community Women’s Fund, TeenSafe is designed to bring Jewish high school girls together to learn about healthy, unhealthy, and abusive behavior in dating relationships and to create a way to share this information with their peers. The program curriculum emphasizes leadership skills, experiential learning, and community building among the participants. TeenSafe also includes a peer outreach program in which returning TeenSafe participants create and implement programs for their peers in the Jewish community. This year, TeenSafe met and worked with more than 100 youth.
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