LACASA Center’s Teen Advisory Council launches its annual teen dating abuse awareness campaign in high schools throughout Livingston County during March.
This year’s campaign, “Update Your Apps & Set Your Boundaries,” is designed to help teens recognize behaviors that are out-of-bounds when it comes to dating and relationships.
“The council worked hard to develop a campaign that tells a story,” said LACASA’s Youth Prevention Services Coordinator Kayla Grant. “Teens communicate with each other by phone, whether it’s texting or on social media.
“Always being digitally connected has its pluses and minuses. If you are dating someone who is jealous, possessive and controlling, there is a big downside.”
Teens can feel immense pressure if the person they are involved with is monitoring their every move, said Grant. They can become overwhelmed and confused about how to deal with a situation that doesn’t feel right.
“Our workshops help students recognize that a person who demands immediate attention or resents your friendships with other people raises a red flag. We help teens identify manipulative, controlling behavior and let them know it is important to set healthy boundaries,” Grant said.
The campaign includes large posters for display in high school common areas, and smaller restroom posters with tear-off tabs that include LACASA’s 24-hour Help Line number.
“We know from experience that abuse victims often do not admit to friends or family what is happening in their relationships,” said Grant. “When posters and materials are left in a private area, people feel more comfortable gathering our contact information.”
The month-long campaign will rotate at various high school locations throughout the county. LACASA staff and volunteers will man awareness booths during lunch periods where students will be invited to sign their name and pledge to set healthy boundaries. Pins with the campaign message “Challenge Accepted, I Set My Boundaries,” will be provided. The social media hashtag #SetItChallenge will be used throughout the campaign.
“We also will be passing out stickers for student groups to wear in support of the awareness campaign,” said Grant. “A variety of student groups will assist us as volunteer ambassadors. It’s always exciting to see students get involved and help raise awareness among their friends and classmates.”