Local Teens Create a Vision for Change

Students take a stand against dating violence through photography and poetry

More than 35 local teens will be featured at an open house on Feb. 7 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Velocio Coffee Shop in Ketchum to kick off National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Visions of Change; Teens Speak Out, offers an up close look at high school students speaking out against dating violence through images and words.

The exhibit, presented by the ETCs (Every Teen Has a Choice), The Advocates’ teen intern program, showcases the work of Wood River High School students advocating for a compassionate community through activities selected as part of the Wood River Foundation’s WOW class projects. Chris Koch’s Student Leadership class selected the “Photos for Change” project to convey their ideas and thoughts on healthy relationships through powerful images taken by local photographer, Kat Smith, who generously donated her time and talents.

“By doing this project I learned a lot about the culture of violence and how much of a problem it is even around our own community,” said Wood River High School student Bailey Cleven. “I really liked the ability to express my opinion and show my friends what matters to me.”

As part of a statewide effort to engage young people to join the movement to create a compassionate community, students from Caitlin Renz’s English as a Second Language class elected to use their words to influence social change. These teens share their personal views and experiences on healthy relationships through the “Use Your Words; Be the Change” WOW project and will read their poetry at the Feb. 7 open house beginning at 4:30 p.m.

“Photographs and words are two of the most powerful ways to create social awareness and change among today’s teens,” said Heidi Cook, community educator for The Advocates. “These projects encouraged students to think about their ideals on building healthy relationships and then enabled them to share those thoughts in a creative and meaningful way.”

Community members are invited to attend the Visions of Change: Teens Speak Out open house at Velocio on February 7 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Live music will be provided by Sage School student, Sofia Drougas, and hors d’oeuvres will be served. The moving photo exhibit will be on display throughout February in recognition of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month at the following locations: Velocio Feb. 1 – 7, Hailey Java Feb. 8 – 14, and Iconoclast Feb. 15-21.