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TCL > May 2009 Issue > CBA Family Violence Program Supports National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week

May 2009       Vol. 38, No. 5       Page  10
In and Around the Bar
The SideBar

CBA Family Violence Program Supports National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week

On February 11, 2009, the Angels Against Abuse student club sponsored an assembly program entitled "It’s Time for a Change—Stop the Violence." The assembly took place at East High School in Denver, during National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week. Approximately 600 people, including students, teachers, family members, and members of community organizations attended the event.

This year’s lineup included role-playing vignettes, testimonials, poetry readings, and musical performances—all based on the themes of dating violence and developing healthy relationships. The scripts were written by members of Angels Against Abuse, who held auditions to determine who would perform them.

A "Stop the Violence" assembly also was held at East High School in 2008. Given the large turnout and favorable response again this year, club members have begun working to fine-tune the program for 2010. Next year’s production is scheduled to take place in the school auditorium, which can accommodate as many as 2,000 attendees.

Students With a Purpose

Angels Against Abuse derives its name from the school’s mascot—Angels. The club’s mission is to raise awareness about teen-dating violence through open dialogue and to educate peers about how to develop healthy dating relationships. With approximately forty members, Angels Against Abuse is one of the largest student clubs at East High School. The club sponsors numerous awareness events, such as assemblies, outdoor events, poster campaigns, contests, and fundraisers.

Angels Against Abuse formed in the fall of 2007 with the support of Project PAVE (Promoting Alternatives to Violence through Education). Project PAVE is a Colorado nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of youth and children who are affected by violence. According to information available through Project PAVE, approximately 25 percent of school students have experienced violence in their dating relationships, and approximately 40 percent of teen girls report knowing someone who has been hit by her boyfriend. Project PAVE counselors provide violence prevention education, victim identification, and counseling services in underserved communities. Information about Project PAVE is available on its website,

Left to right: Mercedes Adams, Faythe Utsey, Nia Lewis, Caroline Caldwell,
and Erin Smith-Cordova.

CBA Family Violence Program

Cheryl Law, program coordinator for the Colorado Bar Association (CBA) Family Violence Program, represented the CBA at the February 11 assembly. Law’s attendance was in keeping with the mission of the CBA Family Violence Program, which is to foster peace in homes, workplaces, and communities. Some of the ways in which the program advances its mission is by:

  • teaching attorneys how to respond appropriately to perpetrators, victims, and witnesses of family violence;
  • participating in coordinated community responses to family violence;
  • assisting lawyers who are victims, witnesses, and perpetrators; and
  • increasing access to the legal system for victims of family violence.

More information about the CBA Family Violence Program is available online at or by contacting program coordinator Cheryl Law at (303) 860-1115 or

Melina Fraga (counselor, at left)
and Stephanie Lopez.

Lynn Ngo.

In Their Own Words:
Angels Against Abuse Club Members Speak Out

"This group is very inspirational; it makes me want to help inform others about teen dating violence and many other issues affecting teens." —Stephanie Bell, 12th grade

"This club is interesting because it talks about what many teenagers deal with on a daily basis. Teen relationships can be unhealthier than adult relationships, because the trust, communication, openness, and caring factors are not there. A lot of guys, mainly teenage guys, think they should not be sensitive and emotionally open when dealing with their girlfriends. They need to know it’s healthy to be open and it’s the best way to have a relationship." —Deone Milton, 11th grade

"This program has really taught me about dating violence and about myself, as well as how to deal with certain situations in life, especially when it comes to violence." —Danielle Lewis, 12th grade

"We want to show people that it’s not just about physical violence. There are lots of ways someone can abuse a person." —Erin Smith-Cordova, 12th grade

"A lot of people think that teen dating violence doesn’t exist. It’s an issue that is hidden, but we want to bring it out in the open and talk to our community. With that kind of awareness, we can start a positive ripple effect where we help someone, who helps another, who helps another, and so on." —Faythe Utsey, 11th grade

"I am so glad that a lot of students got to see our assembly. I think more students need to know about this issue."—Pamosa Davis, 12th grade

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