A lot of my week has been based around a program that my co-counselor and I brought to our school this year. We are in an all girls school, so it’s important to us that our girls understand what a healthy relationship looks like.
Yeardly Love was a college student at one of our local MD colleges and she was killed by her boyfriend in college. There were signs, there were indications that something was going on with her and her boyfriend but no one really did anything or they didn’t know what to do about it. So, unfortunately, Yeardly was attacked by her boyfriend and he killed her.
Yeardly’s family chose to memorialize her by creating the One Love Foundation, which educates young people (mainly college campuses) on what a healthy romantic relationship looks like and what to do if they are not in a healthy one.
Recently, they decided to branch out in high schools so that they can spread the message before students go off on their own so that they know what to look for in their relationships as well as their friends relationships.
We partnered with them this year and brought their Escalation workshop to our Juniors and Seniors. The workshop is led by students (so we selected 10 of our best leaders in the Junior and Senior class) with no adults in the room in the hopes that it will facilitate a more open discussion amongst the peers about relationships and about their own experiences. The workshop is about 90 minutes. The girls watched a 40 minute video of a dramatization of a volatile relationship and then had a long discussion about what they felt, what happened in the video, and what they can do if this happens to them or someone they know.
So many of our girls were so moved by the presentation that they are thinking of ways to continue the discussion and spread the message further throughout the whole school. A few of our leaders asked if I would sponsor a One Love Club next school year for those that are really passionate about continuing the work that One Love has started.
This is probably one of the proudest moments I’ve had so far as a school counselor. As an adult, as a woman, I understand so much of where they are right now in their development and I understand it’s not always easy to stand up for yourself. But some of these girls are so empowered to protect and respect themselves and want to make sure that their friends understand it just as much.
In doing a program like this, that’s essentially student-run, we ask a lot of them. They have to dedicate time and energy and desire to do this but we didn’t ask them to get this deeply involved, they chose to do that on their own and I have no problem supporting them in every way possible. I’m so proud of my girls (or young women, I suppose) for understanding how important this is and wanting to do so much for themselves and their classmates. It makes all the hectic craziness of getting this all situated worth it.