Winter 2009 Newsletter - Page 4

Harbor House, WASAC selected for national teen dating violence prevention initiative

Catholic Charities Harbor House logoWichita has been selected as one of eleven national sites to participate in a new teen dating violence and abuse prevention initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ). Chosen from more than 500 applicants, the "Wichita Building Healthy Teen Relationships" project will receive up to $1 million dollars over the next four years to implement its program. In addition, project coordinators will receive intensive technical assistance and training from the Family Violence Prevention Fund and the RWJ Foundation.

Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center logo"This [grant] is the next logical step to the work we have been doing with our DELTA-funded "Choose Respect" campaign in our schools. This grant will allow us to add staff within the schools to help shape policy and provide training on curriculum that we hope will become part of the standard educational experience for all middle school students in the Wichita Public Schools," said Nancy Carroll, Catholic Charities - Harbor House violence prevention coordinator.

The "Wichita Building Healthy Teen Relationships" project is designed to reach 7,750 teens through community activities focusing on forming healthy relationships and ending intimate partner violence. Wichita's project will specifically engage teens and those who influence teens at schools, at after-school sites, and through ally organizations, such as Youth United for Positive Action (YUPA).

This new initiative will also expand the existing local violence prevention education programs that provide outreach to students, school staff, and parents in Wichita — the Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancements and Leadership through Alliances (DELTA) and Sexual Violence Prevention and Education (SVPE) projects.

"The addition of the RWJ initiative in Wichita is a tremendous opportunity to build upon existing innovative sexual and domestic violence prevention initiatives in Kansas," said Deborah Zelli, Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence's prevention projects team leader. "Being able to expand upon existing information on best practices for primary prevention will assist us in our shared goal of ending sexual and domestic violence."

The Wichita project is a collaborative partnership among Catholic Charities Harbor House, Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center, Wichita/Sedgwick County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition, Wichita Public School District, and the Wichita State University Department of Sociology and Center for Community Support and Research.

For more information, please contact Deborah Zelli, KCSDV's prevention projects team leader, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (785) 232-9784.

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