February 2013

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work to inspire Mentoring veto dating violence MENS DAIS program helps teens By Leigh Mills It is both frightening and tragic to learn that the highest incidence of intimate partner violence happens between the ages of 16-24. This dating violence involves our kids, and it���s happening in the confines of our own homes and even between the walls of our schools. But it���s heartening to know that Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) is working to change this reality. ���Dating violence is occurring within our high schools, and the norm is to ignore it when students witness something that is abusive either verbally or physically,��� explains Molly Zemke, DAIS prevention program coordinator. ���They���re not seeking help or intervening, and we���re trying to change that.��� February is Teen Violence Awareness Month, and DAIS operates a prevention program called MENS at Madison���s West High School. MENS, which stands for Men Encouraging Nonviolent Strength, works with high school aged young men to build their capacity to be leaders in school. The program examines gender roles and expectations, communication, conflict resolution and healthy relationships. ���Guys grow up with a lot of confusion about what it means to be a man. Those are issues we address head on in discussion,��� says MENS Club Faculty Advisor and Madison West Social Worker Rick Rosen. He started the club eight years ago and has worked with about 150 young men. ���There are boys who can���t let go of relationships when young women want to bring them to a close and those control issues become very dangerous,��� he explains, ���and it happens in communities like West with 2,100 students. The fact that they are aware of this is vital ��� for guys to have healthy relationships and to have the words and the courage to step in when they see things that aren���t right.��� Data collected since January 2005 shows this program is working.The young men participating in the program report changes in both attitude and behavior. They say they now recognize that violence is a problem and will intervene when they witness abuse. The vital community program just received a major boost of support. The Roundy���s Foundation donated $10,000 to the DAIS Prevention Program for 2013. The organization���s hope is that its continued work with young people will impact them in college and beyond, and that these values will stick with them. ���Roundy���s Foundation believes feeling safe in your own home is fundamental to having a strong family,��� says Roundy���s Foundation Administrator Connie Jones, ���Supporting the DAIS prevention program is important to help eliminate abuse and violence by stopping it at the source and providing education on healthy relationships.��� There���s another bonus. Participants in the program become trainers and engage other students by speaking at schools and community events. They���ve even had the opportunity to present at two statewide dating violence summits. ���I���m very proud of what they���re able to recognize within themselves, what they���re able to articulate,��� says Rosen. ���When they���re able to step in front of an audience [and share their experiences] that���s probably the best feeling of all for me.��� ��������� Watch NBC 15 News at 5 p.m. on February 4 for more on MENS and teen violence awareness. Leigh Mills is the evening anchor at NBC 15 in Madison. She can be reached at What it is: DAIS is devoted to making Dane County a safer place for those who have experienced domestic violence. 34 BRAVA Magazine What they do: DAIS operates the only domestic violence shelter in Dane County along with crisis intervention programs, including a 24-hour February 2013 help line, programming for children from violent homes, legal advocacy, support groups and emergency safety planning. How to help: DAIS needs financial support and donations of food and goods for the shelter. A list of ways to help is posted on the DAIS website. For more information: Visit Photo by Shanna Wolf Nonprofit Profile: Domestic Abuse Intervention Services

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