Unfortunately, this was not Sydney’s first experience with abuse. She was sexually abused from age four to age eight and emotionally abused by her father for many years. This abuse led Sydney to her teenage years, making the behavior of her current relationship seem completely normal.
Sydney’s boyfriend made promises he never kept and continually harassed her and made her feel worthless. He became physically abusive during their senior year of high school. He shoved, pushed and tackled Sydney while they were at school. After cornering her in the hall one day, screaming in her face, Sydney decided she had had enough. She finally stood up for herself, filed a restraining order, and attended a support group with Crossroads Crisis Center where she learned how to identify abusive relationships and
what a healthy relationship looks like.
According to Crossroads Crisis Center, 25% of high school students have experienced physical violence in dating relationships. Crossroads Crisis Center, located in Lima, Ohio, aims to enhance safety for survivors of domestic violence and their children by educating, advocating for and empowering individuals in Hardin and Allen counties. Crossroads Crisis Center’s programs include two safe emergency shelters, peer support groups, educational programs, economic empowerment programs, and a special focus on teen dating violence.
“We help survivors become self-sufficient and not feel like their only option is to return to their hurtful relationships,” said Emily Wrencher, executive director, Crossroads Crisis Center. “We’re able to offer them support during difficult and trying times. Our focus of teenage dating violence is important because we feel teenagers in our community need an outlet to learn about the warning signs of an abusive relationship, how to be in a healthy relationship, and how to help someone they might know who is being abused.”
With funding provided by the HealthPath Foundation of Ohio, Crossroads Crisis Center has been able to implement three successful initiatives this summer through a storytelling project to highlight the issues with teen dating violence. The initiatives included:
According to the documentary, when boys are growing up, they often learn in order to be respected – to be a man – there also needs to be violence.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time for all communities to learn about domestic violence and to do their part to help prevent it. The Ohio Domestic Violence Network defines domestic abuse when a person uses a pattern of coercive and assaultive behaviors to obtain power and control over another person.
Many experts agree that prevention-focused programs are needed to educate youth about healthy relationships. In particular, men can play a critical role in preventing domestic violence by serving as positive role models to young boys.
“The majority of men are not violent and want to prevent violence in their communities,” said India Harris-Jones, prevention coordinator, Ohio Domestic Violence Network. “The best way to engage men in these communities is by having the majority speak to the minority that are violent and help them understand other ways to work out their problems.”
The trainings have impacted many participants, further encouraging them to take a stand on domestic violence. Clark Echols, a participant in one of the OH-MAN Columbus trainings, was so inspired that he started an OH-MAN branch in Cincinnati to start engaging men in his own community. In June 2015, he showed the documentary, The Mask You Live In, to a crowd of more than 100 individuals, who all shared interest in joining the organization to help prevent domestic violence in their community.
To learn more about OH-MAN, visit www.mensactionnetwork.com.
(February 24, 2015) February is National Children’s Dental Health Month – a month dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of oral health.
(December 12, 2014) - The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio, in partnership with the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center, is pleased to announce the release of the latest update of the Ohio Family Violence Prevention Project data set.
Data is available at the county level for all 88 Ohio counties, the Area Agency on Aging districts, and multi-county alcohol and drug addiction and mental health (ADAMH) board jurisdictions.
In addition, family violence indicators are compared to rates of common injury and illness indicators, such as motor vehicle accidents or new diagnoses of cancer.
The county profiles include data such as:
Intimate partner violence
Each year, 168,000 Ohio children are exposed to domestic violence, and this has lasting effects on them. To bring light to this issue, HealthPath partnered with Case Western Reserve University on Impact of Domestic Violence Exposure: Recommendations to Better Serve Ohio’s Children. This report explores the short- and long-term effects and economic impact of domestic violence exposure on children and recommendations on the best way to support them. The paper also lists evidence-based and promising interventions that can reduce the negative effects of domestic violence on children and help build the protective factors that promote resilience.
The HealthPath Foundation recently approved $390,000 in grants to 8 organizations for projects related to workforce development. Projects represent work in all three result areas, and focus on developing a health care workforce pipeline or increasing skills of the existing workforce.
Seeing a need in the community, the Leipsic Community Center developed the 5K & 4 Courses program to address the need for a local, health-oriented, productive after-school program that is free for underprivileged youth in the Leipsic community.
The lives of 14 Leipsic youth, in grades 6-12, were changed when they had the opportunity to participate in the 5K & 4 Courses program, which would teach them how to set goals, work hard, and live a healthier lifestyle. The program focuses on training children to run a 5K race while also teaching them healthy eating habits, cooking methods, and the importance of good nutrition.
Before the 5K & 4 Courses program, many of the participating youth had low self-esteem because of their background or socioeconomic status, and some were known to argue or fight in school. Two girls in particular brought their dislike for one another into the program, which was quickly recognized by staff. The girls received a pep talk about the importance of getting past their differences and how to support and encourage one another. A friendship between the two eventually formed. They began running together and offering each other words of encouragement during class, which was a significant milestone.
The program also taught the kids how to prepare and serve a four-course meal for themselves and their families. Several of the kids had never even held a knife before their first healthy cooking class. Over time, the children became knowledgeable and productive in the kitchen, learned how to read a recipe, and how to properly chop fruits and vegetables. By the end of the class, all of the kids felt comfortable in the kitchen.
Funding for this program, provided by The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio, was used to provide healthy snacks for kids each day, pay for their 5K race registration, provide incentives for kids that showed leadership qualities with other participants and promote the program to families in the community.
In addition, a local running club, the Ottawa-Glandorf Run Club, donated running shoes for the kids in the program. Club members were so moved by the 5K & 4 Courses program that they also donated their time to come in and speak with the kids about why they run and what encourages them to continue running. They frequently ran with the kids, too. According to Kristen Pickens, director at the Leispic Community Center, “What turned out as a need to get the kids running shoes, turned into a wonderful partnership.”
After spending eight weeks in the program, the kids were empowered to believe in themselves and learned the value in working together as a team with their classmates. Not only did the 5K & 4 Courses program reap a 53 percent increase in exercising habits among the 14 children, it also saw an 18 percent increase in those who considered themselves happier.
The 5K & 4 Courses program has been noticed by other counties and has inspired them to adopt similar programs in their local community centers. Additionally, participants shared their experiences with friends and families. At the first program’s completion, the Leipsic Community Center’s 5K & 4 Courses program has reached far more than just 14 people.
To learn more about the program and Leipsic Community Center, visit www.theleipsiccenter.org.
200 West Fourth St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
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