Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Office awarded the Genesis House Teen Street Team the “Promising Practice Award” and was honored at the statewide, Two Days in May Conference, 2011.
The Promising Practice award recognizes programs from across the state that have enhanced their organization or services through projects they have undertaken. This award is meant to showcase and reward the incredible amounts of time, effort, creativity and talent that advocates and staff put into providing the best service they can to the victims they serve.
Dating violence among teenagers is constantly on the rise. Females ages 16-24 are more vulnerable to dating violence; more than triple the national average. One in 5 female high school students reports being physically or sexually assaulted by their partners. 57% of teens know someone who has been physically, sexually, or verbally abused by someone they were dating, and 86% of teens say that if they were abused, they would tell a friend before an adult.
To address these alarming statistics, using peer support and ‘train the trainer’ techniques, Meg McIntyre, the Genesis House School Advocate, developed the Teen Street Team (TST). High School students from around the county participated in intense training sessions on all aspects of family violence, specifically teen dating violence. They then become the point of contact for information and referral for their school and can then educate the elementary students on family violence. This opportunity to teach as well as learn contributes to a sense of empowerment and bolsters self-esteem. The group format provides opportunities for role-playing new social skills and conflict management techniques.
The TST consists of teens from 7 different high schools who are incredibly dedicated, and their energy for the group is infectious. Amherst Steele High School and Elyria High School had so many interested teens that they have their own school teams, with representatives on the county-wide team. These schools have officially incorporated teen dating violence information as a part of their curriculum.
At the TST trainings and meetings, the students are eager to participate, learn, listen, and support each other. Some of the students within the same school did not all know each other since they are all different ages. Many have expressed how this has become a second “family” for them and they have created lasting friendships.
This is the third time Genesis House has been awarded the Promising Practice Award. We are so proud of our student advocates!