Prevention: The Key to Stopping the Cycle
Harbor House has been at the forefront of exciting and innovative initiatives for the prevention of Domestic Violence. For the past ten years our Leaders of Courage mentoring program for youth ages 11-18 in the Orange County community has enriched the lives of young people with positive, non-violent messages.
The purpose of the Leaders of Courage program, which is a 9-week program, is to encourage youth participants to go forth into the community and help others recognize healthy relationships. Over the last few years, we’ve branched out all over Orange County to expand our message. This year, we had the opportunity to work with a small private school, Orange County Academy, located in Bithlo. Many of the students were new to anti-bullying and teen dating violence prevention curriculum and were at high risk for intimate partner violence. Statistics demonstrate that 1 out of 3 girls and 1 in 4 for boys will experience domestic violence in their lives.
Our advocate, Omar Dejesus, is stationed in Bithlo to provide services to local families in both Spanish and English. He has worked incessantly to build relationships within the Bithlo community and has been successful in introducing prevention programs to the Orange Academy. Before the summer arrives, we expect about twenty-five youth to graduate from the program with an understanding of healthy relationships, gender stereotypes, bystander intervention, and more. Our goal is to continue to spread our message of healthy relationships and create true social change by encouraging our youth to speak up about domestic violence and support each other.
Written by Yelitza Zamora
Community Engagement Manager
Harbor House of Central Florida