By: Katie Schreck, AWARE® Teen Advisory Board Member.
My name is Katie Schreck and I am in 10th grade at Wootton High School. This past year, I had the opportunity to be a part of JCADA's AWARE Teen Advisory Board. Over the course of this year with the Advisory Board, I was educated on violence within relationships and exactly what a healthy relationship is. Additionally, I got to work with my peers to brainstorm new ways to educate teens on dating violence.
The first thing I learned through this experience is there are many different types of abuse that can be experienced in dating relationships. I learned about the five main forms of abuse: financial, technological, sexual, verbal and physical. The Board met once a month over the last year and we were educated in various ways, from reading articles about individual's experiences with abuse to watching videos on the topics we were studying. Working with my peers was my favorite part of the experience on the Advisory Board. We were charged with raising awareness about dating abuse in our communities- our schools, youth groups, and even our friends. Watching our groups work together to brainstorm ideas, plan and make projects, and learn together was a really fun way to become informed about a topic some of us initially knew little about.
Serving on this board was truly an amazing experience that I hope to continue in the future. Between learning new concepts, meeting new people, and generally experiencing new things (including finding out that kosher pizza is AMAZING and that no one will judge you based on the amount of sushi burritos one eats in any given week) it was an opportunity and experience I will never forget. I hope to continue to do work within this community and further educate myself as well as my peers.
This was the inaugural year of Teen Advisory Board. Twelve members from five different high schools in Montgomery County served on the board. They met each month to discuss different topics, from Teen Dating Violence Awareness in February to Sexual Assault Awareness in April, and create awareness projects.