Teens and educators are working to raise awareness in Hidalgo County during February’s Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month, or Young Hearts Matter.
McAllen ISD students from Lamar Academy’s IB Student Council are teaming up with the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office for Young Hearts Matter.
The event, a two-kilometer walk and cheer competition, will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, February 9, at DQ Fan Field at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium (2001 N. Bicentennial Blvd.) in McAllen. The public is invited.
The speakers will include McAllen ISD Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez, Ed.D., County Commissioner of Precinct 2 Eduardo Cantu and Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez.
The event spurs from a school project by Lamar Academy junior Karina Garcia.
“The importance of my project lies in telling people that it doesn’t matter the decisions, actions or obstacles that now seem like negative events, for they are in the past and therefore unchangeable,” she said. “In life, we become the addition and subtraction of all our experiences, now we must focus on always staying within positive numbers.”
Here Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) project is a requirement of the IB Diploma Programme that all students must complete for their IB diploma. They are required to do experiences and a project in the 18 month period of their junior and senior year.
In February, students in Hidalgo County and across Texas will learn to identify the signs of an unhealthy relationship, to help other students know their dating rights and to let friends know how to get help.
With the support of domestic violence service providers, school districts and the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV), students are also working to educate peers through events like Young Hearts Matter.
Domestic Violence is preventable, and it starts with getting teens on board and communities talking about healthy relationships.
“The hearts of the young people in our lives are precious,” said TCFV CEO Gloria Terry. “Teen dating violence is an urgent and silent problem across Texas. We are getting our sons and daughters involved in raising awareness at an early age in hopes that they will never experience or perpetuate violence. We are thrilled to be working with local programs and student leaders across Texas who are coming up with many innovative ways to educate their peers in their schools.”
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Hidalgo County, Boys and Girls Club, Texas Department of State Health Services, Tropical Texas Behavioral Health, Hidalgo County Family Violence Task Force, Prevention Team of Hidalgo County (PATH), Rio Grande Valley Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas, BCFS Health and Human Services, Moms Demand Action, Be Smart, Memorial High School Student Council and Mujeres Unidas will have booths at the event to provide information and/or services available for those in attendance.
To sign up for the Cheer and Walk, go to this website: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/18376646328?fbclid=IwAR1igUKLTdRunRUF8gBSqpcqO95AjmrXIowVTqTTNftC5i6U-86c7Y8An7I