Teen REACH Pic 1.jpg

Photo contributed

Prevention Educator Brooke Kuchefski of the Survivor Resource Center in Danville discusses practical violence prevention strategies with Teen REACH students at Hoopeston Area Middle School.

Growing up is a challenge. Having guidance makes it much easier.

Hoopeston Area Teen REACH participants recently learned some practical violence prevention strategies from Prevention Educator Brooke Kuchefski of the Survivor Resource Center in Danville.

During three visits, Kuchefski shared age-appropriate lessons during the after-school program in the Middle School library January 22, 27 and 29.

Third through fifth graders learned about empathy and respect, as well as ways to manage strong emotions like anger. During the interactive presentation, students watched various videos and discussed ways to calm down in the depicted scenarios. They also discussed bystander interventions.

The presentations for sixth through eighth grade students focused on relationships with friends and family members. Middle school-aged participants learned about healthy and unhealthy relationships. They also discussed consent and its presence in everyday life. And, they learned how coercion can lead to peer pressure and bullying.

Funding for these presentations was provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services, through a grant for violence prevention.

Teen REACH (Responsibility, Education, Achievement, Caring and Hope) is a program of Project Success of Vermilion County. It is an out-of-school program available to youth ages 10-17 at Hoopeston Area Middle School. The program offers homework help, recreation/sports, arts and cultural activities, life skills education, parent/family events, and service learning opportunities.

The Survivor Resource Center serves child, adolescent and adult victims of sexual assault and their loved ones by providing counseling, legal and medical advocacy, case management, and awareness/prevention programs for community members and professionals. Services are free and confidential. A 24-hour local hotline is fully staffed to provide help and answer questions.