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The East End's Sole Domestic Violence Agency Reaching Out To Local Youth During Teen DV Month

Nicole Barylski

A The Retreat Teen Leadership Project member. (Courtesy Photo)

It's absolutely astonishing and appalling that one in three teens in the U.S. will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with. So, to raise awareness about this staggering statistic, The Retreat will host several events throughout February, which is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

"The Retreat is celebrating National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, or 'Teen DV Month,' with special events and workshops throughout the East End of Long Island," shared Helen Atkinson-Barnes, Education Program Manager at The Retreat.

The Retreat, Inc. will partner with Long Island Against Domestic Violence (LIADV) to educate foster care youth in Suffolk and Nassau Counties about Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month, presenting workshops like In Their Shoes, and These Hands are not for Hurting. The Retreat will also host Teen Dating Violence Prevention Trivia games and hold conversations that focus on warning signs of a violent relationship.

The Retreat Teen Leadership Project is open to all local youth. (Courtesy Photo)

Late last year, local foster care youth started creating posters and poetry that centered on teen dating violence. Their finished works will be showcased at the Suffolk County Executive Building in their schools in February, as will a clothesline project made from decorated orange t-shirts that was created to raise awareness for this troubling issue.

Additionally, members of The Retreat Teen Leadership Project will be out in full force.

"The Retreat is hosting The Retreat Leadership Project peer education and community service training workshops throughout February for teens on Tuesdays 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Southampton High School and on Wednesdays at The Retreat main offices in East Hampton," she noted.

Southampton High School is celebrating #RespectWeek (Sunday, February 12th through Friday, February 17th) by completing a mural that honors The Retreat and participating in the NO MORE campaign, whose mission is to "raise public awareness and engagement around ending domestic violence and sexual assault." The teens will educate their peers by presenting an outreach table, and students will also work together on a "Stick it To Love" mural that pays tribute to the One Love campaign, whose mission is to honor Yeardley Love, a senior lacrosse player at the University of Virginia who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend, by putting an end to relationship violence through "educating, empowering and activating campus communities in a movement for change."

The Ross School in East Hampton will also take part in #RespectWeek by hosting a dress-down day and a Valentine's Day flower fundraiser.

Members of The Retreat Teen Leadership Project will be out in full force this February. (Courtesy Photo)

"Retreat Teen Leadership Project students are hosting awareness events at area schools, including 'Stick it to Love' and 'ChalkforLove' events at Southampton High School and Pierson in Sag Harbor," Atkinson-Barnes explained. "The Ross School is hosting outreach tables, a 'Wear Orange and Purple Day' and a 'Flowers for Love' awareness event for The Retreat."

If you're a concerned parent who doesn't know exactly how to speak to your child about relationship violence, The John Jermain Library in Sag Harbor will welcome The Retreat for "Healthy Relationships Don't Hurt" - a workshop for parents and teens during "No More" week, on Thursday, March 9th at 6:30 p.m.

Throughout the year, The Retreat presents Education Program at local elementary, middle and high schools that raise awareness about the prevention of abuse in all relationships.

For more information, call 631-329-4398 or visit www.theretreatinc.org.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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