JF&CS News December 2015
TeenSafe is JF&CS Journey to Safety’s response to dating abuse in our community. The program is designed to give teens the language and tools they need to recognize abuse in an intimate relationship and know how to respond if they see, hear about, or experience it. TeenSafe brings together experienced educators and trained high school students to engage teens in workshops that examine healthy and abusive dating relationships. TeenSafe is entering its fifth year thanks to generous donors and a grant from the Miriam Fund.
Hear about the program’s impact from third year TeenSafe participants, a parent, and the TeenSafe Program Coordinator, Sara Berkowitz:
“TeenSafe taught me about the different types of abuse that exist and how to teach about them to others. Through the community project that my group completed during my first year in TeenSafe, we got many people to think about what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like and spread awareness about teen dating abuse."
“Through TeenSafe, I have had the opportunity to lead seminars and activities for different groups of people, encouraging them to find ways to address dating abuse. TeenSafe has not only helped me make an impact in the community, but it has helped improve my leadership and communication skills, which will continue to benefit me throughout my life.”
“I believe very strongly in what TeenSafe promotes, which is education about healthy relationships and awareness of teen dating abuse. People should learn how to conduct themselves in relationships early in their lives and know that there should be no fear in asking for help.”
“I came into the program expecting that I was only going to review information I already knew, but in reality I learned more than I ever could have imagined. Now, I am more confident in identifying abuse and helping those that might be in danger.”
“I have seen my daughter grow exponentially the last two years. Since she started TeenSafe, the confidence she has gained in herself in relationships is palpable and we have had many important conversations. She is a great role model for her little sister as she enters her preteen years, and I believe she has also become a more empathic friend who is ready to help a friend advocate for him/herself. When my daughter leaves for college next fall, I am confident that she will be able to navigate the very complicated life of relationships that young people face on campus and help others do the same.”
— Jennifer Slifka Vidal, Parent of a TeenSafe Participant
“Though dating abuse is not an issue unique to the Jewish community, Jewish teens are not immune from it. TeenSafe provides an opportunity for teens to meet within a Jewish setting to talk about healthy relationships and preventing teen dating abuse. By discussing this topic and training teens to run workshops, we send a message that we can respond to the issue of teen dating abuse as a community and encourage safety and equality in relationships.”
— Sara Berkowitz, TeenSafe Youth Educator