The Amanda Forum: Dare to Date Safe
A message from Denise Koebcke, Youth Outreach Coordinator, & Sarah Jackovich, Youth Outreach Assistant for The Amanda Forum...
The Amanda Forum was formed in the summer of 2013 in response to the death of a local teen, Amanda Bach, who lost her life to teen dating violence. A component of The Caring Place and funded by the Porter County Women's Impact Fund grant, the Amanda Forum consists of an adult task force of professionals across Porter County, Indiana, and a youth task force of high school students from throughout Porter County. Our mission is to raise awareness of youth dating violence in Porter County through discussion, education, and mentoring with a focus on developing the protective factors of pro-social relationship skills and resilience. Both male and female teens are affected by dating violence and break-up violence. We reach out to all youth in an attempt to help them avoid this tragedy. We seek to help both boys and girls learn healthy ways to deal with dating relationships and the stress of breaking up.
In our first year, we have accomplished a three-day Amanda Forum Conference on dating violence which served local professionals in the field of youth health, education/guidance, 150 teens across Porter County and parents/community members. Our conference drew over 250 participants who came to hear nationally-known speakers, Dr. Malcolm Astley, Christina-Marie Santillan and Damien Frierson. A professional video/public service announcement was made by Wade Breitzke and associates to help promote our conference. The Youth Task Force meets monthly for education, discussion, and planning. Another big event for the Amanda Forum was Chalk the Walk in Valparaiso, Indiana. Our task force artists created Amanda Forum art on three sidewalk panels downtown to promote our positive messages for teens and share information with the community. The Amanda Forum's artwork at Chalk the Walk was voted first place Artist's Choice Award and received recognition in area newspapers.