Adolescent Dating Violence


Recently I’ve been doing a lot of research into adolescent dating violence and the significant impact it has on one’s life and personal relationships. Being a social work major in college, I am being exposed to many vulnerable populations inside and outside the classroom. I have focused more on adolescents because my internship is focused around helping youth ages 11-22. They offer many programs from helping youth become job ready to offering temporary safe host homes or an apartment placement. Typically we work with a lot of youth who have many high risk factors such as suicidal ideation, poor family connections or support, substance abuse, homelessness, etc. 


Research has shown that a lot of youth get involved in dating relationships that become abusive, physically or emotionally. This may be because of many 

RISK FACTORS such as: 


  1. Exposure to violence from family or community 


  1. Maltreatment/neglect 


  1. Poor support groups or negative influences through peers


  1. Inability to control feelings and emotions 
  2. Substance abuse 


  1. Stressors: family, peers, and school 


  1. Sexual activity 

There are a lack of effective protective factors, ways to help stop the cause of dating violence. This is mostly because there have not been enough studies done to show conclusive results in the protice factors that exist. The curriculum that I have been working through is called Safe Dates An Adolescent Dating Abuse Prevention Curriculum (click the link to view – It is a nine session prevention program that uses cognitive behavioral theory to help teach and build skills in creating positive changes to one’s mindset about dating.


Outline of the Nine session Safe Dates Curriculum 


  1. Defining Caring Relationships

→ Gets students thinking about what they want from a dating relationship. Making choices about characteristics they want from a partner, how they want to be treated, and how they want to treat their partner. 


  1. Defining Dating Abuse 

→ Stimulating good discussion around opinions of violence and abuse. Using “harmful behaviors” to sensitize the word abuse and help students understand abusive behaviors. 


  1. Why Do People Abuse? 

→ Helping students recognize that abusive behaviors are controllable. Talking through scenarios in a safe environment. 


  1. How to Help Friends

→ Teaching students how to respond to a friend who discloses an abusive relationship or if they suspect abuse. Explaining why it may be difficult to leave an unhealthy harmful relationship.


  1. Helping friends 

→ Students need to know how to identify abuse and feel comfortable talking to their friend about what they’ve observed. Practicing communication by approaching a friend who is a victim or perpetrator of abuse. 


  1. Overcoming Gender Stereotypes 

→ Biases and stereotypes are hard to recognize so this session really focuses on helping students acknowledge the negative consequences of gender stereotyping. 


  1. Equal Power through Communication 

→ Conflict always exists in relationships, however partners choose how to communicate without attacking and abusing each other. Through different scenarios, students will get to practice this. 


  1. How we Feel, How We Deal 

→ Learning about personal triggers or “hot buttons” to effectively handle their anger, so triggers do not lead to abusive behavior. 


  1. Preventing Sexual Assault

→ Discussing important factors that place teens at risk of being a victim or perpetrator of date rape through taking a quiz and hold discussion among peers. 


    It is important as an adolescent to seek help when you feel you are being mistreated in a dating relationship. Also, you have concerns about a friend who may be a victim or the perpetrator to know that it is important to get help from adults such as school staff, parents, or other supervising adults so that your friends are getting the help they need. This situation is not ever easy to approach, but it is better to get the help needed now than to allow harm to build over time. 


Foshee, V., & Langwick, S. Second Edition (2010). Safe Dates An Adolescent Dating Abuse Prevention Curriculum. Hazelden Center City, Minnesota. Retrieved from

Valentines Day and Tips For Dating


As February approaches we can’t help but feel the need to show our love for the ones we hold most dear to our hearts. Store shelves are filled with teddy bears, red hearts, roses, and any other items to be bought for our significant other to show our affection. I can’t help but wonder where this holiday originated. An anonymous writer concluded that it all began with pagan belief, holding the feast of Lupercalia now thought to be celebrations of Valentine’s day. The feast was essentially a lottery of women, celebrating by putting women’s names into a box to be drawn out by men. This custom was abolished by clergymen and instead of women’s names being drawn they were replaced by saints. St. Valentine was chosen to uphold this celebration due to the meaning of his name, “meaning sweetheart or gallant.”  (anonymous, 1932).Originally the celebration of the ones we love most came from a feast that stripped women of their rights by raffling and selling them off… I am so blessed that I live in a time that has evolved around upholding equality and fighting for human rights and social justice


On a lighter note, now we have a holiday devoted to celebrating the ones we love most. Here are a few SAFETY TIPS for you teens who are dating (Aubri, 2017): 


  • Let your parents know who you will be with, what you are doing, and when you think you will be home. 
  • “Worse case scenario: something bad happens and they know where to find you.”
  • “Second worst case scenario: they stalk you and your date…which they won’t do! Keep the lines of communication open and the trust high. Just tell them upfront what they need to know.” (Aubri, 2017)


  • Usually bad things happen in places that have poor lighting like an alleyway, not that your date would take you there and if they did RUN! Good lighting could prevent something bad from happening and if something did then others are more likely to help. (Aubri, 2017)safe dating blog


  • Group dates are great because tension is eased with friends are around and you get to see how they interact with others.
  • The chances of an awkward situation (or even dangerous) situation are less likely because there are other people there who will have your back (Aubri, 2017).


  • Always be aware of your surroundings to avoid getting trapped into a bad situation. 


  • Although curfews may seem like nagging, they are a good thing. “Physiologically, the later it gets, the worse off you are. When we get tired our judgment becomes skewed and we don’t have as much control over our decisions.” (Aubri, 2017)
  • Be sure to abide by the curfew that you and your parents decided on, it will ensure your overall safety. Another helpful tip: make sure your date knows when curfew is at the beginning of the date so you can budget your time accordingly.


  • I am currently in college and was able to take it through an offered course. Everyone should at least be aware of a few self-defense techniques to be prepared for any dangerous situations. 
  • Take a class if you can, or at least read through this helpful article.


  • “Don’t even leave your food/drink unattended. Date rape drugs are real and so are the consequences. And it might happen to a friend, so be aware that these drugs don’t always cause someone to pass out. If your friend is acting weird, has slurred speech, struggles remembering things or is walking funny, immediately call for help and take them to the nearest hospital. Make sure your friends also know these red flags and know what to do in this situation.” (Aubri, 2017)


  • “If things even begin to get uncomfortable, tell your parents to come get you. You can even use a code word or message so it’s not awkward if your date/friends are looking at your phone. (This article is awesome for that!)”
  • “In serious or dangerous situations, you may need to call the police. Parents (and officers) are there to help you and they won’t be angry at you for calling/texting.” (Aubri, 2017)


  • “Especially if you don’t know your date very well, focus on developing a friendship. You’ll have more fun, you’ll get to know your date in the process, and you’ll increase your chances of safe dating. Getting steamy early on is not conducive to a meaningful, healthy, and safe relationship.” (Aubri, 2017)


  • “This one should be obvious. Whatever your date is offering (along with the alcohol or drugs) is NOT worth it. Firmly say “No!” and get out of the situation as safely as possible.” (Aubri, 2017)


  • “Online dating, in general, can be less safe. Online dating as a teen is even riskier. Sometimes older men will target young women (this is highly illegal). Keep that in mind and don’t post any personal information. If you do decide you want to date someone online, include your parents in the process. It’s vital to have another pair of eyes looking for red flags. This article by highlights some potential red flags.” (Aubri, 2017)

Safety tips found on pinterest by Aubri, 2017

For those who are currently in a relationship, here are a few tips for developing a stronger bond and love for one another. 


“No relationship is perfect. Every relationship takes work each and every day. You are constantly learning something new about each other. There will be times when you may not see eye to eye and there will be times when you may not agree…” -Duclos, E. 2019



    Relationships will never be perfect and if that is the only thing you strive for then maybe a relationship may not be realistic. Moving past that, there will be times when you and your partner do not see eye to eye. In this case TALK IT OUT! Communication is the key to keeping a healthy relationship, it is important to express when you are upset otherwise the problem can never be resolved. “You can only make each other happy if you know how to.” 



    If you have never heard of the five love languages then let me explain a little.


A love language is the way you “receive love.” I once read this book ‘The 5 Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman and learned a lot!! I recommend this book to everyone. You can receive love 5 different ways; through: acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, receiving gifts, or quality time. It’s essential to figure out you and your partner’s love language so that you can show each other love in the correct ways.

Remember that your love language can be different than your partners. The way you enjoy receiving love is not always the same way your partner enjoys receiving love. Sometimes we forget that and instead of showing our partner love the way they want, we end up showing them love the way we want.

This book really changed the way I viewed my relationship and it also made me a more loving partner.

You can also take the quiz & find out your love language here(Duclos, 2019) 



    Personally I have learned that going to bed upset can make it upsetting to lay next to your partner and this is not a healthy habit to have. It can increase the situation negatively and cause there to be more tension than needed. “ALWAYS communicate your problems and make sure you two can go to bed happy with each other.” 



    Yelling may seem like it is helping to get the point across but it usually ends up in a yelling match making matters worse. Talking out the situation in a mild tone of voice can get the point across. If you need time to collect yourself and your thoughts, do so. Jumping right into a stressful situation without having your thoughts collected may end up in exchanging hurtful words that you don’t mean. 



    Don’t lie or try and hide anything from one another. It is important to be open and honest with your partner. If your partner finds out from another source (which he/she eventually will) it can lead to disappointment, arguments, and trust issues. Avoid this easily by being honest.” (Duclos, 2019) 



    Have you ever heard someone say, “Are you two still in the honeymoon phase?” I sure have. Then I find myself wondering, the honeymoon phase has to come to an end? The answer is, no, it really doesn’t. Show love and affection towards each other daily and that honeymoon phase will never end. I know some days are busier than others but, to make the effort to kiss each other day and night is quite a simple task. Don’t you think? Or even complimenting each other daily. Try to cook dinner and have a romantic night in just the two of you, once a week. Why not? Although I know with children it can be hard at times. Don’t give up though. Always kiss each other goodnight.” (Duclos, 2019) 



    It is especially important to carve out some time to spend with your significant other when you have such a busy schedule. I know personally being a full time student, working, and having an internship that there may seem like no extra time at all, but trust me there is. For my partner and I we usually set time aside to do home cooked meals at dinner time and sometimes breakfast. Set aside some time to really invest in your partner and choose something consistent and fun to do. 



    You will appreciate keeping the relationship exciting. Go out of your comfort zones and try something new together. Whether it be a new restaurant or activity such as sky diving! (okay it doesn’t have to be that extreme, but you get my point!) Have some fun! It can also rekindle that flame!”  (Duclos, 2019) 



    Be your partner’s cheerleader, metaphorically speaking unless you are in the same situation as I am where I cheer for my partner on the sidelines during his football games. As I am constantly hyping up the crowd doing crazy stunts to have the crowd interact and cheering for their team, you should be cheering and supporting your partner. Engage in conversations and be their person when they are going through a rough day or are eager to share an amazing day. Have empathy, show your partner you are with them through the good and bad days. 



    “It’s so easy to compare your relationship to someone else’s. Why is it that, as humans, we always look for more? We are never happy with what we have? Or maybe we are, we just fail to appreciate it. When you start to compare your relationship to someone else’s, you start to be unappreciative of what you have. No relationship is the same and no relationship is perfect.

It may look like ‘Jim and Sally’ have a ‘perfect’ relationship on the outside but you don’t know what it’s really like. The only way to know is if you were them. Focus on your relationship and the reasons why you are in it.” (Duclos, 2019) 

Relationships are a lot of work, but when you are with the right person, it’s all worth it.


Relationship tips found on pinterest by Duclos, 2019



Aubri. (2017, March 10). Safe Teen Dating: 22 Tips for Parents and Teens. Retrieved from

Anonymous. (1932). St. Valentine’s Day. Leatherneck (pre-1998), 15(2), 25-26.

Duclos, E. (2019, December 10). 10 Things to Remember in a Relationship… Retrieved from

2020 Visions


happynewyearsWe are 2 weeks into 2020, seems a bit crazy to me! 2019 went by in what seemed like a blink of an eye! With the beginning of the new year it is a time for a blank slate! This is a time to reflect and set any intentions one might have for the upcoming year. It is a also a time if you choose to set an obtainable goal for the upcoming year, these can be anything from saving money, being on time, going to the gym, taking a class, quit smoking, getting homework in, spending more time with friends and family. Whatever it is you choose to do make sure it is a realistic goal. If you set your mind to it, you will stick to your resolution! Here are a few tips to help with goal setting:

  1. Keep the goal simple. Instead of setting a bunch of goals pick one or two to start and once those are met, then set a new one. Don’t think that because you set a high goal that everything is going to change over night, remember it will take time.
  2. Be realistic. Choose a goal that is within your comfort zone and that you are capable of achieving. If you do choose a big goal, try and set little goals along the way to track your progress.
  3. Make notes.  Write down what your goal is and the plan you have to achieve it. This was if you get off course throughout the year you will be able to look back at the initial goal. After you write your initial goal, keep track of your progress that way you can write down anything that is working and not working to help you obtain your goal.
  4. Have a time frame. Having a time frame will help with motivation. By having a time frame you can set daily, weekly or monthly goals and be able to track when those are met.
  5. Be open to support. When you talk with friends and family about your goals they will be able to offer support when you are feeling like giving up on the goals.
  6. Remember it is ok to slip up. Not everyone is going to follow their plan perfectly, remember life happens. when this happens reevaluate your goal and try again, just don’t give up!
  7. It is up to you! Remember no one else is in charge but you!

Good luck and Happy 2020!



The Power of Mindfulness


Have you heard of mindfulness? Or just wondered what mindfulness is? Mindfulness is about becoming more aware of yourself, being present and non judgmental. Being mindful has many benefits; it leads to better self control, helps lower anxiety and stress, is a mood elevator, leads to better decision making, higher self esteem, promotes social and communication skills.

Here are some quick tips on how to be mindful:

  • Be aware of ALL YOUR activities for the day (eating, working, cleaning, driving, texting)
  • Pay attention to how your Body Moves (grabbing something, bending down, reaching out)mind
  • Be aware of the way you Walk (posture) and Talk
  • Pay Attention to the Thoughts you are having, rid yourself of the Negative ones but be gentle with Yourself
  • Express Gratitude (for people, nature, and your blessings)
  • Slow Down when reading, take in the information on a deeper level
  •  Accept ALL the Emotions you have but do not define yourself to them
  • Do one Thing at a Time
  • Understanding that nothing is Permanent, everything comes and goes
  • Express Curiosity for new things and your new Mental Development of Mindfulness
  • Be Fully Open Minded with what is going on around you, and inside of you

Here is a list from Gabriela Green’s blog about when it is a good time to practice mindfulness:

  • When you wake up
  • While you are walking to work
  • In the shower
  • When are getting dressed
  • While preparing breakfast
  • At work when you feel overwhelmed
  • Ideally, you can practice one of these every hour, to keep you grounded
  • After a meeting
  • Before planning your day
  • Before enjoying your meal

The number one goal of being mindful is to SLOW DOWN!

Do you have any tips on how to be mindful? Come down to Youth Outreach and share your ideas! We are open noon to 9pm!


National Mental Health Day


Did you know October 10th is National Mental Health Day? What does that mean you might ask. It is a day that raises awareness of mental health issues.  According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five U.S. adults experiences mental illness, one in 25 experiences serious mental illness, and one in six U.S. youths ages 6 through 17 experiences mental illness.

This years mental health day focused on suicide prevention,  and the role that each of us can play to help prevent it. According to The World Health Organization every 40 seconds someone looses their life to suicide, that is roughly 800,000 people a year.

mental health blogMental health and suicide are such important issues to focus on because it affects everyone young, old, men and women. It is important to start conversations with family and friends to take away the shame and guilt people often feel, which can lead to people not reaching out when help is needed most.

If you suspect someone is suicidal simply listen, being there for someone can be life changing and is the first step in preventing people from feeling alone. Here are some conversation starters from the Each Mind Matters campaign in case you are like me and sometimes simply don’t know what to say.

“I care about you. How have you been feeling lately?”

“I’ve been worried about you, how are you doing?”

“You seem yo have a lot on your mind lately. I am here to listen.”

“I’m here for you, let me know if you need anything.”

“You’ve seemed stressed lately. What’s going on?”

If you or someone you know is suicidal do not hesitate to call The National Suicide Hotline at  1-800-273-8255, it is available 24 hours a day.