Child and Family Center’s Domestic Violence hosts ‘A Night of Expression’ event

Yaney Alday, Mike Berger and others look at the artwork on display during A Night of Expression at Savia: A Community Partnership in Newhall on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

The Child and Family Center’s Domestic Violence program hosted ‘A Night of Expression’ Friday evening to help inform and empower teens at the Savia Community Center.

The event ran as part of the program’s outreach for national Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Students were encouraged to submit art to the center’s program related to the topic.

The art submissions in film, photography and illustration/painting sought to depict the reality of teen dating violence, the winning efforts awarded through a donation by Soroptimist International of Greater Santa Clarita Valley.

Every year, approximately 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner, according to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence website. The concern on behalf of minors is also compounded by studies that indicate about 75 percent of parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence.

“We hope they gain an awareness and an empowerment that comes through working with this topic,” Leah Parker, a youth prevention specialist and DV advocate, said in a previous interview. “That way, they’re able to realize they don’t necessarily have to speak, but can have a voice through art and can bring an awareness through their talents.”

Looking to inform the youth so they’re able to empower themselves and their peers has been part of a concerted outreach effort by the center.

A persistent voice and presence by the center’s advocates have helped raise awareness, said Linda Davies, who oversees the center’s Domestic Violence program, and Friday’s event clearly illustrated the outreach efforts ongoing at the Savia Community Center.

“We’re in the schools now trying to help teenagers understand (how to identify warning signs and symptoms) and we’re also trying to help them help each other,” Davies said, “in seeing the signs and being able speak up about it.”

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