Get crafty for Valentine’s Day Saturday, Feb. 9

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Love is in the air and the City of Natchitoches, Child Advocacy Program and LYE invite community members of all ages to create Valentine’s Day gifts Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Skybox Building, 625 MLK Drive. This is free to attend and arts and crafts materials will be provided. There will also be a discussion on avoiding teen dating violent, loving yourself and others and a gift basket giveaway.

For more information, call (318) 214-7911/(318) 214-4002 or email dsanders@natchitochesla.gov/sonya.confident@gmail.com.

February is also Teen Dating Awareness Month. The Community Counseling Center at the Child Advocacy Program want to make the public aware with the teen dating violence statistics

  • Roughly 1.5 million high school boys and girls in the US admit to being intentionally hit or harmed in the last year by someone they are romantically involved with.

• Only 33 percent of adolescents who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.

• 81 percent of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t

• Young women between the ages of 16-24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, almost triple the national average.

• One in five teens admit to being emotionally abused in the past year.

• Adolescent girls who have been physically or sexually abused are six times more likely to become pregnant and twice as likely to get a STI.

• Teens who suffer dating abuse are subject to long-term consequences like alcoholism, eating disorders, promiscuity, thoughts of suicide and domestic violence.

How can we make a difference?

  • Encourage parents to talk with their teens about healthy relationships.
  • Ask teachers to hold classroom discussions about dating violence and prevention by inviting speakers to talk about these issues.
  • Help schools create policies that support healthy relationships and involve student voices.
  • Utilize local counseling services and therapists to learn coping skills and find a safe space to talk.

The Child Advocacy Program offers free support services. For more information, call (318) 214-4002.