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Weston Teens Take a Stand Against Dating Violence

WESTON, Conn. – In honor of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month, several students from Weston High School’s Teen PeaceWorks took a stance against dating violence during a dance-a-thon at Weston High School.

The Teen PeaceWorks program raised money for safe houses and educational programs for the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, which has offices in Stamford and Norwalk and serves residents of Stamford, Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, Darien, Wilton and Weston. Participants were sponsored and collected funds in accordance with their dance time on the floor.

“I am so proud of the students’ involvement in the Teen PeaceWorks Program of the DVCC. Their work has brought forth an awareness of the importance of understanding that domestic violence is real and that it has a terrible effect on families," said Lisa Wolak, Weston High School principal.

“We were thrilled to be able to host the Dance-a-thon at Weston High School. Empowering teens to bring ideas forward for the good of the community is part of our school’s core beliefs.”

Led by Co-Presidents Kaylie Bucaro and Jessica Riley, Weston’s Teen PeaceWorks highlights warning signs of relationship abuse and provides resources, not services, to peers. National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month was in February.

“Dating is really heard, especially as a teen. Your relationship shouldn’t make you feel worse about yourself, and you shouldn’t feel like you’re isolated from your friends and family. If you do, it’s worth bringing up with someone you trust,” said Bucaro.

Signs of abusive behaviors in teens can range from excessive calling and texting, or it could turn physical with pushing, shoving or pressure for sex. “In all cases, the root of the problem is the desire of one partner to control the other — the behavior can vary, but the bottom line remains the same,” said Marcia Hamelin, a Teen PeaceWorks adviser.

“I believe everyone has the basic right to live with dignity and free from fear in their personal relationships,” Hamelin added.

The organization’s next fundraiser is the Weston High School Talent Show slated for May 24 at 6:30 p.m. Participants will display a mural with message “Hands Are Not for Hurting” and sport “STOP Teen Dating Violence” T-shirts while they perform. Net proceeds will go to the Domestic Violence Crisis Center.

For details, visit www.WestonDomesticViolenceTaskForce.org .

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