National Youth Advisory Board Retreat 2014

Our amazing National Youth Advisory Board (NYAB) got together last week for our annual retreat in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina!

The incredible NYAB members came in from all over the country to learn how to teach everyone back home about healthy relationships.

“It’s really really inspiring to see people doing what I’m doing because that means there’s more people out there,” said Chandler Lewis, one of our new NYAB members.

Here are just some of the highlights from the retreat. In just a few days, we:

  • Learned how to conduct a single-session workshop, host an outreach event and take action online
  • Sent 45 messages of hope in five minutes to dating abuse survivors as part of the #VoicesHavePower campaign going on right now. Every time you send out a social media message of support with #VoicesHavePower, Verizon will donate $3 to help end dating abuse!
  • Bonded over team building activities like rock climbing and capture the flag
  • Created healthy-relationship themed PSAs and performed skits about the true meaning of love at the campfire

“I’m normally not very outgoing but I feel like I’ve known the rest of the board forever,” said Jimmy James, another new NYAB member. “I think it’s because we are all passionate and working towards the same cause.”

We had a great time! Join in the action by checking out the winning PSA from the retreat below:

Special thanks to the Avon Foundation for sponsoring the NYAB and making this amazing week happen!


Start Talking Oklahoma

We got New Mexico to start talking — and now we got Oklahoma to start, too!

Last week, the loveisrespect team went out to Oklahoma to host a series of Start Talking training events for over 40 native service providers, a particularly important and underserved group, thanks in part to Native Alliance Against Violence. We also talked to educators and government workers across the state thanks to the Oklahoma State Department with the Oklahoma Coalition on Domestic Violence.

“I can’t wait to implement the program. We will be recruiting peer leaders very soon!” said one participant.

In both Tulsa and Oklahoma City, everyone was ready to Start Talking. We taught everyone how to implement the Start Talking curriculum in their communities. Additionally, we discussed what makes relationships healthy, unhealthy or abusive, and talked about the differences between adult domestic violence and dating abuse among young people.

“The delivery and approach of the program will be received well by youth. Thank you,” said another participant.

Live in Texas? Get ready to see the Start Talking program in action when we head out there in a few weeks to present at the It’s Time Texas Summit. Stay tuned for more details!


Start Talking in New Mexico

We got the Southwest to Start Talking!

Last week, our loveisrespect team headed out to New Mexico to host a series of Start Talking events for young people and adults.

Between community resource fairs, adult conference workshops and Start Talking trainings for both young people and adults, all the events helped promote the Start Talking curriculum and how it helps students, parents, educators and beyond.

With five events in four days, we did so much that we can only share the highlights:

  • Tribal students showcased their Start Talking art projects including pottery and native dance at the Envision New Mexico community resource fair
  • We inspired around 100 adults, including educators, nurses and community service providers, to Start Talking at the Head to Toe Conference
  • Young people and adults at Santa Fe Community College learned how they can make a difference and got the resources to do it
  • Students loved our “healthy relationship game show” at the Los Lunas Community Resource Fair, hosted in partnerships with the New Mexico GRADS program
  • Adults and youth benefited from our mini-institute thanks to the help of the New Mexico for Youth in Community

Everywhere we went in New Mexico, everyone young and old alike we were ready to Start Talking. We discussed what makes relationships healthy, unhealthy or abusive and how the media can be used as a way to get the conversation going.

“It was inspiring for me to see how many members of the community came together to make a difference,” said Jasmine Ceja, National Youth Organizing Manager. “With youth, parents, teachers and service providers, you could feel how important it was for them to receive information and be a part of change in their communities. It was nice to see cohesiveness across the state no matter what city we were in.”

Live in Oklahoma? Get ready to see and show off the Start Talking program in action when we head out there the first week in June. Stay tuned for more details!


Start Talking PSAs: We Started Talking About What Love Is

As part of loveisrespect’s Start Talking program, peer leaders create their own PSAs to help raise awareness on dating abuse and healthy relationships. In this series of PSAs, our youth leaders show that no matter what you think being “in love” means, there’s only one thing that love equals: respect. Patience, honesty, trust, communication and mutual respect between you and your partner are what love really is.

Learn more about what you should look for in a partner, how you and your partner can communicate openly or get your dating questions answered. Think you or your friend is suffering from dating abuse? Take our quiz to find out if your relationship or your friend’s relationship is safe and healthy.

“Above All Else”

“Love Is…”

“What Does Love Mean to You?”

“Think This is Love?”

You can watch more of our Start Talking PSAs, all of which are totally youth led – no adults were part of the video making process!

The Start Talking campaign is sponsored by Health Care Service Corporation and its Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans of Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. If you live in these states, you can order your free Start Talking toolkit and start promoting healthy relationships today.


Start Talking PSAs: We Started Talking About the Warning Signs

During our Start Talking Institutes, peer leaders from across Illinois, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas created their own PSAs to raise awareness on dating abuse and promote healthy relationships. In this series of PSAs, tweens, teens and 20-somethings discuss what’s important to them — that dating abuse affects an estimated 1.5 million teens per year, what the beginning stages of abuse look like, how sending a picture on your phone can have huge consequences, what digital abuse even is (using technology like texting and social networking to bully, stalk and harass your partner). Check them out:

“Did You Know?”

“Where Do You Draw the Line?”

“Should I Send That Text?”

“Notice the Change?”

You can watch more of our Start Talking PSAs, all of which were totally youth created — no adults were part of the video making process!

Want to see your work featured here? Get your school or local domestic violence agency to participate in the Start Talking campaign! If you live in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma or Texas, you can request a free copy of our Start Talking toolkit and start promoting healthy relationships today.

The Start Talking campaign is sponsored by Health Care Service Corporation. Learn more about the awesome ways they give back to the community.


Help a Friend With Dating Abuse

Watch Margaret, one of loveisrespect’s peer advocates, and learn how you can help a friend suffering from dating abuse. You can make the difference in your friend recognizing that abuse is NOT normal and NOT their fault. But, you’ll have to remember to focus on supporting your friend. Call 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522 to speak with one of our trained peer advocates at any time about dating abuse.

Read more


Supporting a Friend

The video below is titled “A Photo a Day of the Worst Year of My Life.” Chances are you’ve come across it at some point in one of your social media feeds as it has had over 4.7 million viewers in the past month.

Photo a day challenges have become popular recently, but this one is different from the quirky photos of where you eat lunch or the progression of facial hair over the year. It chronicles a year of a dating violence survivor.

While there are still some questions surrounding whether the video is of an actual dating violence survivor or a public service announcement, it does a good job showing the changes that take place in a person over time as abuse escalates. Notice when the video begins, the young woman not only looks happy, but the pictures are taken in various locations. As it goes on more and more of the photos are being taken inside her house, her clothing begins to change and we see noticeable differences in her facial expressions, signs that something is happening even if we weren’t able to see the bruises.

Read more


Check Out these Dating Abuse PSAs

If you’re like us, you enjoy spending time (maybe too much time) surfing YouTube. Recently, we took a break from watching kitten videos and searched around for a few dating abuse PSAs. Some of these are old favorites and some are new discoveries, but they are all educational and interesting.

Check them out!

Where is the line


1 is 2 Many


Abuser Goes to Jail


That’s Not Cool: Text Monster


That’s Not Love

Have you seen any dating abuse PSAs that you like? Leave us a link below so that we can check them out.