By: Alice Cheng
Students flocked to the bell tower quad Wednesday, December 4 before school to collect T-shirts advocating Peer Resource’s Stronger Than You Think (StrongerTYT) campaign. Students who filled out a sheet about what a healthy relationship means received a shirt. Refreshments were provided at a table and blue and yellow streamers adorned the quad’s poles while a creative cardboard cutout stood nearby.
Peer Resource is working in collaboration with Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments (SAVE) to hold their second annual StrongerTYT campaign in hopes of preventing and bringing awareness to relationship abuse. The StrongerTYT campaign started after Kaiser Permanente gave SAVE a grant. SAVE then worked with MSJ’s Peer Resource to bring the campaign to MSJ and to build a movement against relationship abuse. According to SAVE community engagement specialist Erin Daly, “We’re a non-profit [organization], and we’re collaborating with Peer Resource because they have such a strong presence on campus.”
The StrongerTYT T-shirts function as a conversation starter. Peer Resource and SAVE have created these T-shirts as a way to not only raise awareness among high school students, but also to have high school students themselves promote the prevention of relationship abuse. Peer Resource President Praveena Fernes said, “The T-shirt is a conversation piece. We want people to wear the T-shirt, and talk about it. Healthy relationships are a pertinent topic for our age group. StrongerTYT is about helping unhealthy relationships. It helps students understand how to support healthy relationships and be a part of the cause.”
Peer Resource and SAVE have attempted to combat the daunting statistics of unhealthy relationships by increasing the numbers of students exposed to the StrongerTYT campaign. SAVE started by asking students for a logo and design, and as a result, they settled on “StrongerTYT.” According to Daly, “we saw 3000 students with our healthy relationships presentations, ‘Loves Me Loves Me Not,’ but we figured that we could be getting students more involved. After the campaign, the number of students exposed to healthy relationship awareness has gone from 3000 in 2011-12 to 6000 in 2012-13.”
Along with the T-shirt distribution to promote the StrongerTYT campaign, Peer Resource held a benefit show which raised $1400. In the future, Peer Resource may hold an educational skit, work with L2, have wear-your-shirt days, and implement Booster days, in which students who didn’t get a shirt can buy them.
Besides raising awareness for their campaign, Peer Resource has received feedback for their StrongerTYT campaign. Sophomore Anusha Murshed said, “I think T-shirt distribution is a good way to raise awareness in students about healthy relationships. Peer Resource does this in a very fun way too with their morning surprises and their welcoming behavior.”
Photos: Courtesy of Peer Resource, Staff Writer Apoorva Rajanala