Violence prevention education starts with awareness. Conversations are being had all across Carroll County, in the classroom and community to bring this awareness forward. The mission of Starting Point’s Prevention Program is to raise awareness about interpersonal abuse, family violence, sexual abuse, bullying, harassment and dating violence as well as giving knowledge, resources, and skills necessary to cultivate healthy relationships and effectively respond to abuse.
This year’s focus has been on teen dating because our future generation deserves to have healthy relationships
from the start. Starting Point has been in all 5 middle schools and both high schools in the county. We offer a 3-5-day program that addresses the topics listed above and through discussion and activities, many students come away knowing how to identify red flags, be a good friend to a person who’s experiencing violence, knowing where to go to seek help and setting and respecting boundaries.
Although education is a good start, there are many other protective factors that encourage healthy relationships, one of them is mentor-ship. Emily French, Kennett High Health teacher, and I have designed a mentor program to support middle and high school girls in an after-school program called G.I.R.L.S (Guidance In Real Life Situations). This program offers leadership from high school girls as they mentor middle school girls. The framework behind the program is to express care, challenge growth, provide support, share power and expand possibilities.