Christel House Academy Partners with Indiana Fever and INCASA

To Help Local Youth Choose Respect
Local Activities Part of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week

To motivate youth to challenge harmful beliefs about dating abuse and take steps to form respectful relationships, Christel House Academy has partnered with the Indiana Fever and Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault to launch its Fever for Respect program – operating in partnership with Choose Respect, an initiative by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week is Monday, Feb. 2 – Friday, Feb. 6th. Just one week later, the Fever for Respect program will launch during a Family Night meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 5:30 p.m., at Christel House Academy (2717 South East Street, Indianapolis, 46225).

In May of 2006, in conjunction with the CDC, INCASA launched Choose Respect, a nationwide initiative designed to motivate youth to challenge harmful beliefs about dating abuse. Choose Respect targets youth, ages 11-14, with a goal of forming healthy relationships to prevent dating abuse before it starts.

Fever for Respect utilizes Choose Respect materials and the technical assistance of INCASA. All sixth grade students will engage in a monthly Choose Respect activity, learning necessary skills to form healthy relationships in their lives. Students will explore core themes such as gender stereotypes, communication skills, anger management, media and pop culture messaging and warning signs of an abusive relationship.

According to Roberta Courtright, Community Relations Manager for Indiana Fever, "Our Fever for Respect program is a great opportunity to encourage positive action on the part of youth and families in Indianapolis, to help them discover the power of self-respect and self-esteem. By joining together we can raise awareness locally about the importance of healthy, respectful relationships and help lead youth on the path to prevention before they enter unhealthy relationships."

Christel House Academy is the perfect home to launch Fever for Respect. CHA emphasizes that students create positive attitudes and behaviors; encourages leadership and mentoring by older students; provides a safe, disciplined and positive environment that encourages learning and responsible behavior; and offers core expectations that instill respect, responsibility, independence and integrity.

Throughout the year, participants will also interact with guest speakers from the community and receive support and materials from the Indiana Fever. At the end of the year, participants will attend a high-energy convocation, with guests from the Fever. At this convocation, students who displayed leadership and healthy habits will be identified and chosen to lead a peer education program the following year.

According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 11 high school students reports physical dating abuse victimization in the past 12 months, equating to nearly 1.5 million high school students a year. Even more startling, youth who report dating abuse are also more likely to report binge drinking, suicide attempts, physical fighting, and current sexual activity.

Those youth are also more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and poor school performance. Dating abuse damages relationships and can be the start of a pattern of abuse that continues later in life, costing society more than $5.8 billion per year. Developing healthy relationship skills helps prevent this destructive trend that can start early and last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, in 2007, 14.1% of boys surveyed in Indiana and 9.3% of girls reported being abusive in relationships.

“What these data tell us is what most youth in unhealthy or abusive relationships already know – that abusive relationships hurt both body and mind,” said Angie Turk, Director of Prevention Education at INCASA, “It can have a negative impact on personal health that lasts a lifetime. With Choose Respect, we are helping youth learn to give and get respect in all their relationships, making not only an investment in their future, but an investment in Indiana for generations to come.”