By Hillary Soens, MPA
Interim Executive Director, YWCA of Olympia
The YWCA of Olympia is an active member of the Thurston Coalition for Women’s Health. This community coalition includes 19 public and private organizations that work collaboratively to improve the health of local women and girls. The Coalition’s focus is on gender-related health disparities and their top priority is preventing violence against women and girls. In 2013, the Coalition launched a healthy relationships social media campaign for young people, ages 10-14.
The YWCA of Olympia worked closely with TOGETHER!, another local nonprofit, to produce videos as part of this social media campaign. During our 4-day Girls Without Limits! Spring Break Camp, YWCA participants ages 10-14 produced videos that described healthy relationships for their age group, showed warning signs of unhealthy relationships and provided resources for teens to get help if they need it. Girls engaged in a facilitated conversation about healthy relationships, met professional women working in the film industry in order to learn the technical skills needed to produce the videos themselves, and participated in a Social Marketing 101 workshop. TOGETHER! then edited the videos further in order to use them for the campaign and disseminate them county-wide.
The videos have reached hundreds of thousands of households via 75 showings on Thurston County Television, hundreds of views online, and through local presentations by Coalition members. The project was written up in Spouses Magazine, and posters advertising them were placed in businesses and schools around Thurston County, Washington. Take a look at the videos with the young people in your life.
Here are some tips about how you can talk with youth about healthy relationships:
- Talking about healthy relationships is not “the sex talk,” but a broad conversation about behaviors, attitudes, expectations and more.
- Respect is an important part of the conversation because it means different things to different families, so you want to make sure your child has their own strong definition.
- Let your child know that you’re always available, and when they approach you make time for them.
Some resources our team recommends for parents:
- Healthfinder.gov has a walk-through on how to talk to your teen about healthy relationships
- “Break the Silence: Stop the Violence” is a CDC video made for parents about what teens are facing
- LoveisRespect.org is a site built for youth but it’s great for parents too!
The YWCA of Olympia, TOGETHER!, and the Thurston Coalition for Women’s Health are proud to be part of the 2013 YWCA Week Without Violence ™.
Hillary is a youth development professional, having developed and managed after school and camp programs for K-12 youth for more than a decade. She is also a nonprofit leader, has worked in program and development departments at several organizations, and has conducted community and agency assessments that have enabled organizations to better understand their stakeholder’s needs and interests. She has a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit leadership and has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member.
This post is part of the YWCA Week Without Violence™ 2013 Blog Carnival. We invite you to join the dialogue! Post your comment below, share your story and follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #ywcaWWV.