Walk to raise awareness of teen dating violence

The Healing Center will be raising awareness for a serious issue in the lives of young people during its second annual Teen Dating Violence Awareness Walkathon on February 9.

The walkathon will start from the Pool House at the Sunset Park Recreation Center at 43rd Street and Seventh Avenue at 9:30 a.m. The walk will end at Bethlehem Lutheran Church at the corner of Ovington Avenue and Fourth Avenue, with a rally featuring guest speakers and refreshments.

Last year, 250 members of the community including students, educators and community leaders participated in the first walkathon, creating awareness for a plight that one in four teens will experience. The event is timed to occur during Teen Dating Awareness Month, which takes place in February.

“We want teens to have healthy relationships at a young age,” said Sandra Torres of the Healing Center. “If teens start having violent relationships young, then it often elevates.”

Most importantly, Torres aims to make people recognize an issue that very often is ignored. Along with sponsors including the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, Community Board 7 and the Center for Anti-Violence Education, the Healing Center continues to offer support and resources for young girls who are in abusive relationships, such as a support group for girls 13 to 15 years old, Daughters of the Lotus.

“We need young girls who have experienced teen dating violence to learn how to understand the signs, not to be ashamed, to speak out and to heal,” said Torres.

For further information on the walkathon or the issue, write stores@thehealingcenterny.org or call 718-238-5158.

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