Power Up, Speak Out!

An evidence-based model for preventing teen dating violence in frontier communities

Dates of Project: July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2013

Description: Domestic and Sexual Violence Services in Red Lodge, Mont., developed Power Up, Speak Out!, a teen dating violence prevention program for 7th through 9th graders in Western frontier communities. The curriculum, developed with input from teens, uses images and messages relevant to youth in sparsely populated areas and very small towns to teach critical thinking skills that promote healthy, equitable relationships.

“We want to make sure our program is informed by teens: that the stories resonate with them, the activities work for them, the language speaks to them.”—Travis Burdick, MA, violence prevention educator

MEM Consultants, in Seattle, evaluated Power Up, Speak Out! in 2012.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships.

Findings and Results

  • Project staff and evaluators reported these key results and findings to RWJF:

    • Domestic and Sexual Violence Services piloted Power Up, Speak Out! in 14 middle schools and four high schools in seven Montana counties in spring 2012—reaching 1,701 middle and high school students.
    • Project staff trained 72 teachers, counselors, and youth-serving adults at 13 schools and community organizations to teach Power Up, Speak Out! after the pilot.
    • According to the evaluators, the lessons taught in Power Up, Speak Out!:
    • Significantly or moderately changed student knowledge of and attitudes toward healthy relationships, unhealthy relationships, one-sided and two-sided power in relationships, and interpersonal boundaries and consent
    • Were culturally appropriate and largely easy to deliver

“We teach critical thinking skills about relationships, rather than just how to identify unhealthy behaviors.”—Travis Burdick, MA, violence prevention educator

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#PowerUpSpeakOut promotes healthy teen relationships thru critical thinking in rural frontier communities.