Students in the Monticello Central School District are learning what healthy relationships look like, thanks to a partnership between the District’s Special Programs Department and Safe Homes of Orange County.
Safe Homes’ Community and Youth Educator Kodi Haney has been making weekly visits to Monticello’s secondary schools to set up an interactive display during lunch periods. The first week was a teen dating trivia asking students to identify problematic behavior.
On Valentine’s Day, he was back to invite students to “chalk about love.” Students wrote messages of self-affirmation, described healthy love and wrote the names of loved ones in colorful chalk on a black paper-covered table in the cafeteria. They looked over pamphlets that and paperwork that compared traits of a healthy relationship with those of an abusive relationship, as well as other educational paperwork.
“One out of three teens will experience an abusive relationship,” Hanley said. “It’s good that we’re starting this conversation at this age when they’re just starting to have thoughts of dating.”
At the end of February, the partnership will expand to the elementary schools’ Empire Program, with fifth-grade students participating in a Healthy Relationships curriculum, presented by Safe Homes.
“Safe relationships are built upon healthy boundaries and knowing your worth,” Haney said.