"As a policy leader, as a father, as a man, I realized that I have a responsibility to champion prevention. I can, and I need to, make
a difference."
(Read full commentary.)
~ Jim McDonough, Ramsey County Commissioner

Community Primary Prevention Partnerships: Two Harbors, MN

 

Teen Dating Should Be Just for TeensNorth Shore Horizons

In Two Harbors, North Shore Horizons, is working to change the accepted culture of adults “dating” pre-teens by creating a leadership program in the two area high schools to increase knowledge and skills about healthy relationships, engaging teachers as ambassadors to reinforce key messages, and building local capacity to address statutory rape social norms by creating a community team and building their capacity to counter norms supportive of sexual violence.

For more information, please contact Amy Swensen.

 

Mission Statement

To prevent attitudes and beliefs that lead to illegal and harmful relationships in the high schools by providing effective education and training, outreach, and community dialogue.

 

Overview of the Project

Reduce the amount of older youth/adults dating pre-teens/teens by creating awareness of cultural norm and strengthen perpetrator accountability by:

  • Educating students on bystander intervention skills and information on healthy relationships in order to prevent developing attitudes and beliefs that lead to statutory rape
  • Encouraging students to engage in bystander intervention and speak out against sexual violence
  • Engaging community stakeholders to change behavior at the school and community through education and multiple exposures.

 

Lessons Learned

  1. When wanting to collect data, it is best to use a pre-test and post-test method in order to measure the impact of your program.
  2. Sometimes initial methods for engaging youth in conversations don’t work, keep trying different methods until youth feel comfortable. For us, anonymous question time after presentations was difficult due to time constraints. Students had heartfelt questions, however we would not have the time to delve into these conversations before their next class. Now we will be coordinating times when can be in the school building so students can talk to an advocate in a less hurried manner.  
  3. Peer leadership groups are a very personal and effective way of meeting with interested youth. During these conversations youth were able to discuss things such as healthy and unhealthy relationships, harassment via social media, etc.

 

Why It's Needed

“After one of the first school room presentations, one student went to the high school counselor and said she felt she was in a bad relationship with an older boy and needed help getting out of it. The counselor was able to meet with both students at the same time explaining age of consent laws. This took the pressure of the younger student to end the relationship which she felt she didn't have enough power to end on her own.”

- Amy Swensen

 

Community Partners

  • Men as Peacemakers
  • Lake Superior School District
  • Lake County Sex Trafficking Task Force
  • Lake County Attorney’s Office
  • Lake County Human Services
  • Lake County Sherriff’s Office
  • Two Harbors Police Department
  • Silver Bay Parent Teacher Organization
  • And more!
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