Changing the culture that leads to domestic violence.

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Connection is Protection

Prior to joining the DVN team, I taught in classrooms for 4 years.

Before teaching, I was a youth worker. In every position I have held, I have always understood the importance of connection. Children and youth value connection more than anything else (whether they say it or not).

According to the Urban Institute, only nine percent of abused teens will seek help from their parents or teachers. One of the major reasons teens will not seek help from the “trusted” adults in their life is because they do not trust them.

Adults tend to put themselves on a pedestal in front of children and youth. This makes it hard for them, especially teenagers, to reach out for help. 

Take some time to connect with the children and teenagers in your life.

Have an honest conversation about your mistakes at their age. Laugh with them, and do not take yourself too seriously. Show some interest in the things that they are interested in, it goes such a long way. Create a space for them to be honest, free of judgment and consequence (at least in the moment).

Many of these things I have done myself. In my role as the youth program coordinator, I typically spend a week with students to complete programming and every time I leave, I have a connection with at least three students.

Students that have just encountered me have felt safe enough to be vulnerable and share their experiences because I create the space. I let it be known that I am no perfect human and that I do not expect them to be either. 

Build connections with your students, because that is one of the best ways to guarantee some protection.


By Jala Powell (she/her)

DVN Youth Program Coordinator