Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

DEL RIO, TX – Every year, nearly 1.5 million high school students across the country experience physical and emotional abuse at the hands of a dating partner. Teen dating violence affects 1 in 3 adolescents, a rate much greater than other forms of youth violence. The effects of violence among youth are dire and long lasting, as victims are at increased risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.*

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it. BCFS Health and Human Services-Del Rio helps local youth through several programs that provide free counseling and crisis intervention as well as domestic violence prevention and treatment.

BCFS-Del Rio is hosting two special events in recognition of February as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Friday, February 17, 2017
6 – 8 p.m.
BCFS-Del Rio, 712 E. Gibbs Street, Ste. 200

Friday, February 24, 2017
6 – 8 p.m.
BCFS-Del Rio, 712 E. Gibbs Street, Ste. 200

On Friday, Februrary 17, BCFS-Del Rio invites fathers and their daughters to a night of music and fun at the Father Daughter Dance. Tickets are available for purchase online at DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio or in person at 712 E. Gibbs Street, Suite 200 – $10 for fathers, $5 for daughters. Besides providing a night of memorable family fun, the goal of the event is to give fathers the opportunity to demonstrate how a gentleman behaves on a date and how to treat a young woman with respect and reverence.

On Friday, February 24, BCFS-Del Rio will hold a self-defense workshop on the art of Taijutsu (Japanese for “body technique”) for girls ages 12-18. The workshop will instruct young women on ways to prevent a threatening situation, good decision-making skills when in trouble, and how to protect themselves if their life is ever threatened in an altercation. Space is limited. Call (830) 768-2755 to sign up.

BCFS-Del Rio encourages parents, other trusted adults and friends to look for the warning signs that a teen might be experiencing dating violence. Suspicious bruising, failing grades, and a disinterest in activities or hobbies they once enjoyed are all cause for concern. Signs that a teen may be at risk for carrying out dating violence include issues with anger management, insults or mean-spirited comments toward their partner, and threatening physical harm if there is talk about a break up.

“Our main goal is to foster safe, loving environments in homes and relationships across our community,” says BCFS Director Delia Ramos. “When someone affected by abuse looks to us for help, we use resources, counseling and education to try to help them see that violence is never the answer, and that there are more effective ways to handle problems.”

For more information about BCFS-Del Rio, including help for someone in an abusive relationship, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio or call (830) 768-2755.

*Statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Family and Youth Services Bureau.

BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

BCFS’ McAllen Transition Center Expands to Serve Youth and Families

Photo: Young woman ringing Job Bell

MCALLEN – Whenever a teen or young adult at the BCFS McAllen Transition Center gets a job, they get to ring the “Job Bell” to the sound of cheers and applause from staff. After hosting a Career Education Workshop last week for local youth looking for employment, the BCFS team is looking forward to a lot of bell-ringing.

The BCFS McAllen Transition Center serves local youth and families in need, providing assistance with education, employment and housing location, lifeskills courses, and parenting education.

BCFS opened the transition center in 2012 to help youth aging out of foster care prepare for independent living, but the facility has seen rapid growth and now also provides child abuse prevention programs, rehabilitation for youth in the juvenile justice system, parenting support groups, and services for any youth struggling with poverty, homelessness or a turbulent home life.

Serving about 200 people each month, the center quickly outgrew its office space. Their team of case managers, facilitators, mentoring coordinators and family educators has tripled in the past year. Renovations were completed last month to accommodate new staff, and create more room for family counseling sessions and mentor meetings.

BCFS hosted an Open House Friday, January 23 inviting community leaders and other non-profits to tour the newly-renovated space and learn about their services. Representatives from BCFS’ community partners attended, including the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Tropical Behavior Center, Henry B. Gonzalez Elementary, RGV Play Therapy Center, and the Ramirez Center probation officers.

At the Career Education Workshop hosted by BCFS this month, young men and women in foster care and youth overcoming a past of criminal activity gathered to learn how to write a resume and prepare for a job interview, as well as complete a career inventory to assess what line of work suits them best.

“The youth we serve – like all teenagers – need to feel loved and supported,” said Marissa Cano, BCFS McAllen Transition Center Program Director. “Many of them were removed from their biological parents due to abuse or neglect and put in foster care. If they aren’t adopted, they age out of the system at 18 years old without a family. This lack of stability and accountability led some to make poor choices, but we help them overcome the trauma that makes them act out and work hard for a brighter future.”

This month, BCFS also hosted a seminar on AIDS awareness and sexual health in collaboration with the Valley AIDS organization.

“Our goal is to convey to our youth the importance of making smart choices when it comes to health and safety, and to connect them to resources that support these choices,” said Deyanira Garcia, case manager at the BCFS McAllen Transition Center.

About 950 families have graduated from BCFS’ parenting education program, which is aimed at reducing child abuse by teaching parents how to resolve conflict, improve communication, and deal with behavioral problems. Participating families meet weekly at the center or local schools, and receive childcare, transportation and necessities like food, diapers and clothing.

For more information about the BCFS McAllen Transition Center, call (956) 630-0010 or visit DiscoverBCFS.net/McAllen.