Navigating Healthy Relationships: High School Edition

For my activist project this semester, I chose to create a zine and host a coffeehouse event at Centennial High school about healthy relationships. My goal in this project was to create a space where high school students would feel safe and welcomed to discuss the questions they might have about important aspects of relationships, such as boundary setting, consent, and signs of unhealthy relationships.

I was fortunate to connect with a teacher and a club who were both willing to take on my project and help me navigate the process of obtaining permission for the school administration to do this project.

IMG_2725The zine’s content was written by me using several online sources as help in guiding me through the appropriate and inclusive language to create a resources where students felt both confident and safe using. It was designed by a friend who worked at the commonvision printing location on campus. My writing and her designing abilities made for a visually engaging aid for students to refer back to post conversation.

The coffeehouse/conversation event was held after school. For this event I was able to talk to 12 students from grades 9-12 about what it means to give consent, set boundaries, and seek hIMG_2930elp if they/their friend(s) were experiencing a situation that was unhealthy and unsafe. I gained tremendous insight from their comments and questions. Having a space where students feel safe and discuss their questions about particular situations can be powerful in helping teens feel valid and heard.
This activist project and course has helped me understand and discover that activism is incredibly important to me. I was pushed out of my comfort zone to talk to students about a difficult topic and surprised myself in how capable I am. I was also impressed by how receptive and compassionate each individual was. They were willing and interested to learn. Most of all, I learned that creating conversations about difficult topics are challenging but invaluable to helping others navigate the same world we often have trouble understanding.

For more info on resources used for the zine visit:

http://www.loveisrespect.org/

http://www.wearehopeworks.org/

http://www.scarleteen.com/article/abuse_assault/hello_sailor_how_to_build_board_and_navigate_a_healthy_relationship

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