By the time they graduate from high school, one in three teenage girls nationally will have been in an abusive relationship. With the help of a $1 million initiative, Catholic Charities launched a four-year program Thursday to promote healthy relationships and to prevent teen dating violence.
Catholic Charities received the grant in November 2008 and has spent the past year planning the program called Start Strong Wichita: Choose Respect.
The project is working with the Wichita school district to teach seventh- and ninth-graders students how to communicate and handle conflict, said Teresa Kunze, director of marketing and communications at Catholic Charities of Wichita.
The curriculum will reach 7,000 students in the near future, Kunze said.
Among the leaders of the program are teenagers Andrew Eaves of Northwest High and Alexis Marie Johnson of North High. The students were nominated by faculty, said Kunze. Eaves and Johnson will remain part of the program until they graduate.
"I have friends that go through this problem," Johnson said. "(The experience) has been really amazing. There is no other word to describe it. I just want people to know about what we are trying to do."
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