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DO YOU: Building Youth Resilience Through Creative Expression

We recently welcomed Dawn Brooks to the Community Resilience Team as a facilitator and all around positive addition to both our children's programming and school-based programming like DO YOU. DO YOU addresses youth violence, dating and sexual violence, sexual harassment, and bullying by confronting its root causes and enhancing protective factors (also referred to as building resilience) to promote positive development and healthy relationships for age 13-16 years old. The UnCurriculum uses primary prevention principles and creative expression in a strategy intended to prevent violence before it starts. Dawn has just finished at Westmoreland County Public Schools and had the following to say, "Going into the schools and hearing/seeing the students I have been working with mirror what I have modeled for them about healthy relationships and sexuality makes me so happy. We don't always get to see the outcome of all the work we put in, so seeing the students grow in that aspect as been very rewarding. I'm excited to see how else they take what they are learning and apply it to their lives! #youthprevention!!"

Students in the class also shared some of their thoughts and feedback on the program. Many saying that the sessions created a positive environment that resulted in meaningful conversations. Tamysinae said her "experience of DO YOU has been nothing but positive objectives. Ms. Reiner and Ms. Dawn teach us new ways to express ourselves and be positive while also learning from us too. Everybody talks freely but still stays aware of the other girls feelings. Everybody has positive energy with a calm vibe. This program is one of my favorites that I have been in - all positive vibes and energy."

Abby, another student, goes on to share, "Do You has been an eye opening experience. The open and safe atmosphere creates a space for us female teenagers to talk about how society is affecting the way we view things. The conversations are honest and opinionated, but in a good way. It has helped me see other people's views and how judging someone will only harm.

I enjoyed learning more about myself and who I am - not what others say I am. I did not know how many things I could identify with. I'm excited to see how my you-niverse will change, or even if it will. This experience was more for me to try to find out about myself, rather than how others think about me/women. I already felt I had a good opinion/outlook on things (the way gender should be, media) and this has changed some of them.

Do You has make me realize how much my childhood affected my life/socialization and I gained appreciation for the things I always took for granted or not thought about. 

I learned how my responses to people and situations are really important. I learned that I need to work on how I answer to people and how to make the decision of whether or not I actually need to answer. Assertiveness has always been a struggle for me and this experience has given me tools to be able to communicate better. 

Do You has been an amazing experience and I am thankful for my mentors cohort. I have enjoyed finding out [things] about myself and others. I hope that I/we can spread the positive influence that this program encourages."

A big thank you to Dawn and all of the students in the program for sharing their experiences. We are so glad that you had such a great time!

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