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COLUMBIA CITY â€” February is considered a month to focus on love. With Valentineâ€™s Day being celebrated tomorrow, red roses, candy and other displays of romance seem to be the focus of many.
However, for Columbia City High School students, Wednesday was not a day to prepare notes of affection. It was a day to take a stand for healthy relationships and self-respect.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Together with the Whitley County Domestic Violence Task Force (WCDVTF), and Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel, CCHS is working to spread the message that violence and abuse are not acceptable in any relationship.
â€śThis is how we put a stop to domestic violence issues,â€ť said Natalie Lewis, WCDVTFâ€™s president. â€śIf we can teach teens to notice signs of unhealthy behavior and violent relationships, we can stop it from growing into adult relationships.â€ť
Daniel was at the high school Wednesday and read a proclamation declaring the month as a time to evaluate how teens treat others and themselves.
â€śI am glad we can come together and support such an important issue,â€ť said Daniel to the students gathered for the reading. â€śYou are the ones that can make a real difference.â€ť
CCHS students from civic-minded clubs such as the Key Club were present for the proclamation reading.
During the month, WCDVTF has worked to bring awareness to students by way of messages read over the intercom during the school day.
But the real infiltration happens by word of mouth.
â€śThese are good kids,â€ť Lewis said. â€śThey are the biggest advocate for themselves and for their friends. Even though they may not be in a dangerous situation, knowing what to look for and what to do is a way they can break the cycle if it is happening in the lives of their friends or peers.â€ť
The task force holds regular meetings to coordinate activities and support to bring awareness and change for all ages and in all relationships.
A monthly support group is also organized by the task force.
For more information on the support group or to become involved with the WCDVTF, contact Lewis at 229-8269.
See more photos on Page A5.