I love Holy Names! The first time I set foot on that beautiful intricate campus was in 2003. I was an 8th grader at St.Anthony's Year Round School and was on a mission to find the perfect highschool. Unfortunately Holy Names was far beyond my mom's financial reach. I remember wishing that I could afford to go there. That fantasy never left me.
In February I got an email from my supervisor telling me that a Holy Names engagement was forthcoming. All i could see where little hearts and party hats , I was too excited and honored! It was a great experience to come back as a young adult and now educate the girls of Holy Names.
The Holy Names High School ladies say Youth Alive rocks, I say Holy Names Rocks!!!!
On Tuesday February 5, the girls of Holy Names High School had an assembly that that would touch all of their hearts. The assembly was entitled: “The Cycle of Violence”. It started off as any normal assembly. Then, Ms. Wujek introduced the group, Youth Alive. Three lovely people came from behind the curtain: Demetria Huntsman, Smooth Wickcliff, and Caheri Gutierrez. Youth Alive is a violence prevention group who spends a lot of their time helping the kids at Castlemont High School. “Everyone deserves equality of life,” they said. They spent the rest of the assembly demonstrating situations that are “hard for the human spirit to carry”, such as gender discrimination and abuse.
It never occurred to me before this assembly how destructive it is to use the term ‘act like a man’. Men are expected from a young age to ‘”act like a man.” But what does the general term mean? Youth Alive showed us exampled of how boys are expected to handle their problems on their own, even in situations they can’t win. When they fall and scrape their knee as a kid, they need to wipe their tears, and get over it. It made me think: if they’re expected to handle situations by themselves, does that mean they can use a weapon to help even up the odds? Also, if they can’t express sadness, does that mean they are allowed to resort to drinking away their problems, or replacing sadness with anger?
We then identified how a person in a violent household might feel: sadness, hopelessness, and a sense of being lost. Unfortunately, unless someone intervenes, the cycle of violence starts again when that person has kids.
The next two days were spent reflecting on what we heard, and learning about dating violence. Caheri was the group leader for the freshwoman and sophomores. She shared her personal story and brought the whole room to silent tears – every girl giving her 101% respect for what she had to go through. She taught us how to recognize the red flags in our relationships. We learned that honeymoon, tension, eruption, and promise of change make up the cycle of dating violence.
The people of Youth Alive are doing truly amazing work. They brought so much insight to a subject that needs to be talked about, yet no one ever does. They are the change they want to see in the world. I am so grateful for their visit to Holy Names, because they left our community stronger and ready to help them make a difference.
Thank you Youth Alive, you rock.