learn / 2014

Make A Choice Campaign

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Peace Over Violence

Make A Choice Campaign, a youth-created & youth-led teen dating violence prevention & awareness campaign utilizing a multi-platform strategy


Please describe yourself.

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

Make A Choice Campaign, a youth-created & youth-led teen dating violence prevention & awareness campaign utilizing a multi-platform strategy

Does your project impact Los Angeles County?

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • Westside

What is your idea/project in more detail?

The Make A Choice Campaign is a youth-created and youth-led teen dating violence prevention and awareness campaign. This educational campaign utilizes a multi-platform engagement strategy that incorporates print, social media and radio to promote healthy, violence-free relationships among youth. The campaign aims to educate youth on aspects of a healthy relationship, empower youth to be active bystanders when they hear and see violence, and engage youth in community organizing and mobilization around preventing dating violence. The Campaign also works to target parents, educators, school district members & other adult allies to work in partnership with youth-to make a choice to believe in youth and support youth affected by dating abuse.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

Ongoing: Youth leaders have developed a Tumblr for the campaign and meet twice a month as a group to discuss its content, which is populated with a campaign overview, messaging, and user-generated photography.

The September-June 2014: The school wide distribution of campaign posters will begin in September shortly after the school session begins. The campaign posters’ hashtag will lead students to Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where students receive prevention education information—this includes monthly prompts to use an additional hashtag that expands the dialogue to include other topics related to teen dating violence and its prevention (i.e. #silenceisviolence is an opportunity to discuss the importance of speaking out against dating violence and a prompt to break the silence and stigma around these issues).

February 2015: The community wide print roll out (billboards, street posters, bus shelters) of the campaign will be implemented in February 2015. February is nationally recognized as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. This will afford the campaign heightened visibility, media coverage and prime opportunities to elevate the dialogue on teen dating violence and the promotion of healthy relationships. After several months of engaging youth on these issues, the campaign will widen to engage community members who are cued by the print campaign to connect online about how they can support youth and model healthy relationships.

Ongoing: Youth leaders continue to participate in a weekly segment of The Beautiful Struggle on KPFK to speak about the issues impacting them, with a specific focus on preventing relationship violence. The teen dating violence PSAs they created will continue to run throughout the year, with heavy rotation in February.

How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to LEARN today? In 2050?

This project will engage students and adult allies through creative outreach and social media strategies. Together; youth and those who care about youth, will create communities and campuses that promote safety, nonviolence and support for youth who have experienced interpersonal violence. The campaign empowers youth and provides them with tools to build healthy relationships, to prevent dating and sexual violence and to educate adult allies on how to support them in building lives free from violence.

Beyond educating youth and adults, the campaign’s call to action: Make A Choice will mobilize students, parents, educators and community members to support the implementation of LAUSD’s Resolution to Promote Healthy Relationships and Prevent Teen Dating Violence. This resolution was passed in October 2012 following the murder of Cindi Santana, a LAUSD student, by her boyfriend on their school campus. The resolution, which calls for the development of a district wide policy on how to respond to teen dating and sexual violence, as well as an across the board training for staff on these issues, is currently being piloted in three schools (a formal collaborative project between Peace Over Violence and LAUSD). This campaign has the capacity to garner attention for implementation across the entire school district, which will create systems change and ultimately, climates of safety and support for youth so that they can succeed on a social-emotional and academic level.

Whom will your project benefit?

This project will directly benefit students of the Los Angeles Unified School District (over 671,000 students). Dating and sexual violence continue to impact youth in the U.S. at rates higher than any other form of violence in this age group. One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner— a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence. Additionally, young people, 12 to 19 years old, experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault (U.S. Department of Justice-2009). Experiencing teen dating violence and sexual assault has severe consequences for youth; these forms of violence are associated with higher levels of substance abuse, violence, victimization, as well as lower school achievement. Dating violence victims present a strong, consistent pattern of exposure to, and participation in, a broad range of high-risk behaviors, including eating disorders, sexual risk behavior, pregnancy, and suicidal ideation. This project will support the development of healthy relationships and healthy lives for this target population at LAUSD schools campuses and surrounding communities.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

Los Angeles Unified School District-confirmed Peace Over Violence has worked in collaboration with LAUSD since 1991, implementing its In Touch With Teens relationship violence prevention curriculum and youth leadership development activities throughout middle and high school campuses. POV & LAUSD are currently partners on a Department of Justice federal grant (STEP), piloting a violence prevention policy, campus wide staff training and response protocols in three schools in Highland Park, LA. This is the second largest school district in the U.S. and a key partner in engaging youth, parents, educators and stakeholders.

KPFK 90.7 Beautiful Struggle-confirmed. Youth leaders continue to participate in The Beautiful Struggle’s weekly segments. TBS commits to running the Campaign PSAs with heavy rotation in February for Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month.

Dawn Faelner & John Park-confirmed Dawn and John have come on the project as design consultants, working with youth to develop their ideas into design elements for print, social media, and digital distribution. They are formally trained by Rebeca Mendez, who developed Peace Over Violence’s signature brand and brand guidelines. They have been involved with the agency throughout Summer 2014 and will ensure campaign brand consistency.

The three critical factors in these partnerships are: 1. school buy-in and support for campaign implementation and dissemination, 2. continuous radio distribution/coverage of campaign, and 3. on going campaign design mentorship and brand development with youth.

How will your project impact the LA2050 “Learn” metrics?

  • Students perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school (Dream Metric)

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

The Make a Choice campaign’s visibility in communities, school campuses and online presence work in concert to inspire climate changes on campus and in the community at large, directly impacting students’ sense of safety at and on the way to school.

Creating a sense of safety on and off campuses is embedded in every component of the campaign and its activities, whose very name promotes action: Make a Choice. The campaign’s logo is a hashtag, directing individuals to a conversation, where they can participate in this change as:

  1. A reader receiving information on dating abuse and dynamics of a healthy relationship, as well as information on upcoming violence prevention community events and actions.
  2. A contributor to the dialogue by responding directly to the conversation feed, creating their own content and images, tagging it with Make a Choice.
  3. An ambassador, sharing campaign content on their own social media platforms.
  4. A leader on their own campus by creating, participating in and/or leading to educate fellow students and organize violence prevention activities and dialogues on campus.
  5. An adult ally, learning about relationship issues their teens and youth in their lives are facing, how they can support them in building lives free from violence and how they can lend their voice to creating positive climate changes on LAUSD campuses through support of prevention policy.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

  1. Social media engagement: This project includes a web-based app that will compile all of the campaign hash-tagged activities into one seamless feed. This mechanism will allow for an easy compilation of Make A Choice conversations, tracking violence prevention education and engagement across multiple platforms: twitter, facebook, instagram and tumblr.

  2. The engagement of youth leaders and documentation of and number of violence prevention participation/activities organized in LAUSD schools.

  3. Effective implementation of LAUSD’s teen dating violence resolution to improve campus safety and change the school climate to one that does not tolerate teen dating violence.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

The murder of LAUSD high school student Cindi Santana defined what LAUSD campuses need to put in place to promote safety and success for students: relationship violence prevention education for students, implementation of a district wide policy to train educators, administrators and school staff on how to respond to teen dating violence and sexual assault, and opportunities for parent and adult allies engagement to support youth in building healthy relationships. This campaign was created by youth leaders, in memory of Cindi Santana, with the hope that no student will ever be harmed on or off campus by a current or former partner.

For the past 14 years, POV has implemented Denim Day, an awareness and education campaign that has reached millions of participants through traditional and social media. Denim Day has attracted men, women and youth to join the violence prevention movement. From Denim Day we have learned that people want to be involved in significant positive social change. They need to find a way to join others, express their goals for a violence free community and have fun doing it.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

The campaign’s mission, goals, objectives and design assets have already been created over the course of the past year—with an intensive focus on design production in Summer 2014. Youth Over Violence Institute leaders have committed to one year of service to the campaign, meeting twice a month to review campaign impact and assign activities on the social media platforms. Staff will ensure the production and placement of print materials throughout the community and LAUSD campuses. Staff will work with youth leaders to engage community leaders, stakeholders and media to bolster the campaign reach during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Peace Over Violence’s Board of Directors has reviewed the campaign and committed to its implementation and on going sustainability as a vital piece of the agency’s Prevention Programs.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

  1. Having enough materials, billboards, etc Strategies • Grow the campaign over time. We know that we cannot saturate the city in 1 year • Realistic goals

  2. Sufficient staff infrastructure Strategies • Funding will allow the hiring of additional staff; • We will use volunteers to support activities

What resources does your project need?

  • Network/relationship support
  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Quality improvement research