Throughout my 3 years in the Teen Voices, Teen Choices program, I have seen thousands of students while facilitating presentations on Dating Abuse. Students will typically have one of three reactions: involvement, shyness, or discomfort. It has become much easier for me to tell how particular students will respond to my presentation when they come in the room; however, there are still some that surprise me, sometimes not until the presentation is over. After presenting at a school in a particularly high-risk area where students’ giggles made me unsure how seriously students were actually taking the information, I received a package from the teacher. She had asked students the day after I presented to sit down and write what they learned. One student wrote:
“Dear Mrs. Jaeckel,
Thank you for coming to teach us about what dating abuse does to people. I’ve been through this a few times, not in my relationships but friends that told me about their significant other. I learned how to spot and prevent abuse. Nobody deserves to be abused for any reason. Thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule to come talk to us.
p.s. I downloaded the app on my phone”
As nicely as this letter was written, the “P.S.” at the end is what struck me. We firmly believe students not only need information on dating abuse, but access to the tools and resources that can help someone who needs it. I mentioned to all the students about a new iPhone app that was recently released that they could download for free. It is called “TD411” and places vital information right in the palm of their hand. The fact that the student took the time to tell me they actually downloaded the app made me extremely proud. This program is making a difference, however small, in the lives of Orange County’s youth. A big thank you is due to all of our Teen Voices, Teen Choices partner educators and community members. You help make moments like this possible!
~Susan Jaeckel, Program Coordinator Teen Voices/Teen Choices