by Tammy Henkel
Director of Youth Programs, YWCA Bristol
This year marks the 18th Annual YWCA Week Without Violence™ for YWCA Bristol of Tennessee. The goal of this week is to increase community awareness of the resources that are available to help prevent violent behavior. Our outreach highlights a range of agencies who offer activities and services addressing issues like abuse, hate crimes, racial injustice, date rape, teen bullying, and teen suicide. Many of the local groups in the community are creating and hosting events for YWCA Week Without Violence™.
YWCA Bristol’s youth ministry group, Bristol Outreach, is one group that takes an interest in the YWCA Week Without Violence™ and has brought a unique approach to dealing with bullying and violence in the community. For this year’s YWCA Week Without Violence™, Bristol Outreach will discuss the topic of bullying with the scripture Proverbs 13:17. Proverbs 13:17 says, “A wicked messenger falls into trouble but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.” The teens will consider what this proverb means and ask themselves: “If I choose to bully and spread unkind or untrue statements about others, how will it bring trouble to a person’s life as well as my own life?” Students will be given the opportunity to also talk about their own experiences of bullying with their peers and grow to understand why they should choose to lead a life without violence.
The Bristol Outreach youth group uses the downtown YWCA Bristol facility on Sundays to provide a safe and nurturing place for Bristol’s inner city youth to study the Bible and apply their study of the scriptures to their everyday lives. Sylvia Bowden, Leader of Bristol Outreach, desires to not only bring teens closer to God but to also have a true spiritual relationship with Him as well. Sylvia loves the programs offered by the YWCA and always finds a way to connect the YWCA resources to her group’s studies. She feels that it’s worth discussing the issue of bullying, as well as their relationships with God because if they choose to be kind to all people and true to themselves the world can be a safer, happier and healthier place to live.
Tammy has been with the YWCA for 14 years and has worked with the YWCA Week Without Violence™ campaign in her community during that time. Tammy says, “Week Without Violence is a great way to make connections with partners in the community with agencies, churches and schools. I have an awesome referral system for the women, their children and their whole family network through these partnerships!”
The presenter of the program, Sylvia Bowden, is involved as a result of one of those partnerships: “Children and youth are our greatest resource. Bristol Outreach, Inc. leaders are praying and working together that God may lead Bristol’s “Next Generation”. Who are the beneficiaries of this ministry? You and I! We love this partnership with the YWCA.”
This post is part of the YWCA Week Without Violence™ blog carnival on issues of violence in all forms. We invite you to join the dialogue! Post your comment below, share your story on your blog or website, and follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #ywcaWWV.