Being on summer vacation and away from school can be really exciting for the first couple of weeks, but the boredom of not having a regular schedule inevitably sets in. Rather than sleeping the day away, here are some ways you can get involved this summer in raising awareness to your community about domestic violence and dating abuse.
Plan a party, school assembly for next year, open mic night, or benefit concert. Finding creative ways to educate your community on the issue of dating violence is a powerful way to promote prevention and help the cause. Community leaders like local clergy and school board members are great people to ask for help in planning your event. The more people you can involve, the more people you’ve reached with the message of ending dating abuse.
Channel your inner artist. Write a story about dating violence and send it to your local or school newspaper to increase awareness in your area using your own words. Another way to get lots of members of your community involved is to hold an art contest themed around expressing healthy relationships or domestic violence. The winner’s artwork may be able to hang in the school library or a local gallery. Have access to a video camera? Make a PSA that can be shown on your local channels or at school to prevent domestic abuse and use media to promote positive messages about relationships. You could even upload your video to YouTube and post it online for all of your friends to see.
Hold a toy or clothing drive with your friends. Parents who go to shelters with their children often have to leave most of their belongings with their abusive relationship at home. These families are in need of clothing and the children are without toys, so shelters are dependent on donations. Instead of letting old toys and clothes take up space in your garage, provide a family in need with your gently used items. Contact your local domestic violence program or shelter to find out what items they need. You and your friends can hang up signs around your community advertising the drive and get your community to donate too.
Contact your school’s student council about starting a group promoting healthy relationships. Teens don’t have a lot of safe spaces to talk about relationships and even less resources educating them about dating violence. Starting a group at your school can open discussion about the issue and gives students a chance to talk about their relationships and connect with peers going through the same things. Find a teacher or staff member you trust to sponsor your club. Loveisrespect also has lots of resources to help you get started, like a student council toolkit and some printable materials to share with students.
Volunteer at a local shelter. Call loveisrespect and ask a peer advocate to look up your local domestic violence organization. Have them direct connect you to the organization and try to speak to the volunteer coordinator or shelter manager. Find out if they have any volunteer opportunities, and if they don’t, offer your help in starting a volunteer program in the future.
Need help getting in touch with your local domestic violence resources? Chat or call us at 1-866-331-9474.
What are you going to do this summer to get involved?