by Kevin Mauro, loveisrespect.org
My name is Kevin Mauro and I am currently a senior at the Hempfield Senior High School in Pennsylvania. Throughout my high school career, I have been involved in the Blackburn Center Youth Advisory board. The Blackburn Center is a local organization dedicated to creating awareness of domestic violence, educating young people about healthy relationships, and helping victims of domestic violence. One of my roles as a member of this board has been to help the Blackburn Center Advocates revise their curriculum to make it more teen-friendly and relevant. As a member of the loveisrespect.org National Youth Advisory Board, I have helped to revise the loveisrepect.org website to make it more modern and approachable for teenagers. I am very proud of the work this board is doing, as this website is an invaluable tool for teenagers to use. It helps to highlight the qualities of a healthy relationship and has chat, call, and text messaging services for teenagers in need of advice. At the National Youth Advisory Board conference in Texas a couple weeks ago, we learned many skills on how to be advocates for healthy relationships. We also created many plans which will be put into effect over the next few months. We plan to start slow with small events such as tabling to build suspense – then we will end with one large event in April for Global Youth Service Day.
I hope this demonstrates that young people are doing our part. We see the relationship violence and abuse in our schools and want a change. But we need help and support from our government. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (S.1925), championed by Senators Leahy and Crapo, includes programming to help our schools develop and implement appropriate policies and procedures to deal with dating violence, train our teachers and coaches in what to look for and how to help us, and provide much needed prevention education. I wish I had prevention education when I was a freshman, or even in middle school. I hope we can get the Leahy/Crapo Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (S.1925) passed soon so that my younger classmates will get that benefit. Let’s use Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month (February) to make our voices heard!
Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.