Strength United was recently awarded a grant from the California Department of Public Health to begin a new program aimed at preventing teen dating violence, an often unrecognized problem among youth in our community. After a very competitive application process, Strength United was one of only four agencies in the state of California to receive funding for this program.
Starting this fall at the San Fernando Institute for Applied Media, a pilot middle school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Strength United prevention team will educate and activate youth leaders to address teen dating violence in their community. Using an innovative community mobilization practice called Close to Home, which emphasizes community members’ leadership in the prevention process, the prevention team will work with youth leaders to develop their own action plans to reduce teen dating violence. Youth leaders will take the lead in conducting community assessments and holding neighborhood conversations to determine their planned action. They will then implement their programs, allowing them to address a critical issue in their community while developing their own leadership skills. At the same time as the youth leaders are developing their programs, Strength United will also be working with parents at the school to mobilize them around the issue and support their children’s work.