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ANDVSA and Alaskan Youth Act against Violence

JUNEAU, Alaska (January 28, 2011)-This February marks our nation’s second annual Teen Dating Violence Prevention & Awareness Month.  In their continued efforts to promote respect and prevent violence, The Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA) has launched its new Stand Up Speak Up campaign and accompanying youth community grants.

“Stand Up Speak Up features Alaska youth leading the way towards safer and stronger communities,” said Lori Grassgreen, Director of Prevention Projects at ANDVSA.  Stand Up Speak Up is funded in part through the Governor’s Initiative and a partnership of agencies such as the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, the Department of Health and Social Services, and others.

The campaign includes traditional television spots but also utilizes social media like Facebook and YouTube to reach Alaskan youth. The videos incorporate youth interviews conducted at Lead On!, the Network’s annual youth leadership conference.  “It doesn’t take a lot of time…just to say ‘hey this isn’t right, let’s change our environment’,” says Sutton resident Jessica in one television spot.

In addition to the media campaign, the Network awarded funding of up to $2,000 to eight youth groups from across the state. Grant recipients will complete community projects that promote healthy teen relationships. The Network has funded projects in Anchorage, Cordova, Gambell, Juneau, Ketchikan, Nenana, Sitka and Unalaska.

Romig Middle School in Anchorage will create and distribute a video to raise awareness about teen dating violence and to promote healthy relationships and respect.  Partnering with Glacier Bay National Park, Juneau teens will promote self-respect through wilderness experiences.

The Network’s initiatives support a national effort to confront teen dating abuse.  Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and only 33% of teens who were in an abuse relationship ever told anyone about the abuse, says Liz Claiborne Inc.

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