$5,000 – Family Safety Network
The Community Foundation of Teton Valley was honored to award a $5,000 grant to the Family Safety Network to empower youth leaders to foster a culture of healthy relationships. The Community Foundation strongly supports Family Safety Network’s efforts to prevent domestic and sexual violence and create a community where everyone thrives in collective safety.
Through its work in our community, Family Safety Network knows firsthand that many children and youth witness domestic violence in their homes. Teachers and school counselors within the Teton County School District confirm the deep concern for students who live in abusive homes and those who are in unhealthy relationships. Teachers articulate, and students agree, that youth struggle to understand the foundational components of healthy relationships such as respect, boundary setting, and communication. Local student surveys verify these concerns. The Teton Valley community has a need for greater violence prevention efforts and education on healthy relationships. If the community is going to take this reality seriously, it is vital to equip and empower youth to be part of the solution to address this problem. When youth take action and lead, their peers are more open to listening, which ultimately leads to a better chance of having a true shift in culture.
This grant will be used to further support a teen internship program that Family Safety Network launched in the 2021-2022 school year. There are currently four interns representing diverse backgrounds and each high school grade. In its first year, the internship was funded through a grant received from the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. This grant expires in June 2022. Still in its early stages, Family Safety Network is eager to grow the internship into a sustainable program. The Community Foundation grant will serve to equip and empower between six and eight Teton Valley youth during the 2022-23 school year who are passionate about creating a thriving culture of healthy relationships, consent, support, and gender equity. The program will be further supported by the experience and resources of “The Advocates” program in Hailey, ID – an eight-year successful teen internship program.
Teton Valley youth interns will receive extensive training on teen dating violence, the role of technology in dating, consent culture, bullying prevention, bystander intervention, how to support a friend experiencing violence, and more. Led by a Family Safety Network Prevention Educator and Youth Advocate (PEYA), the training will empower youth to speak out and lead the charge against emotional and physical violence in their peer groups and at school. In addition to the training, interns will plan and implement outreach events in the community about teen dating violence and sexual assault awareness. The program will recognize the inherent dignity and autonomy of youth by valuing and centering their voices in prevention and awareness work. The internship is an opportunity for Teton Valley youth to gain experience in leadership, social justice work, advocacy work, social media messaging, and event planning.
Interns will be paid a monthly stipend of $100 between the months of September-May. Participants will track their time spent in meetings and working independently on internship projects on activity logs that are submitted monthly. The PEYA will solicit feedback in May from participants and community partners about the effectiveness of the Teen Interns for Healthy Relationships program. The Family Safety Network program will role model that youth are valued, respected, and deserve to have their voices heard through a transparent hiring process, regular evaluations, opportunity for program feedback, fair pay, and a work environment built on self-care, support, and trust. The values being taught in the program are integrated into the structure of the internship.
The Community Foundation commends the important work of the Family Safety Network’s Teen Interns for Healthy Relationships program to empower youth leaders to foster a culture of healthy relationships.