Valor Domestic Violence Program
Holy Cross Parish
Unfortunately, due to Illinois state budget cuts and other funding issues, the parish has had to temporarily suspend their parenting program. With the necessary funding and support, Holy Cross will reestablish this crucial program to help parents and families in the Back of the Yards.
After extensive dialogue with young people, much research, and planning, Holy Cross launched the Valor program in 2013 to focus on teaching young teens about healthy relationships, resistance skills, and peer-help skills before they begin dating. National research and the parish staff’s own observations show that early intervention is key; the way teenagers interact and treat each other in their young dating relationships carries through the rest of their lives to their mature intimate-partner relationships.
Valor is a multilayered program run by trained peer-educators. The program offers three layers of intervention and education—outreach events, one-time workshops, and a curriculum group—each structured to give young teens information about domestic violence and resources for help.
The outreach events are brief opportunities for the peer-educators to share some information about domestic violence and offer intervention resources, such as phone numbers and websites. The longer one-time workshops allow program leaders to offer brief activities and give young people more in-depth information, in addition to the intervention resources. For both of these types of events, the peer-educators devote significant time to answering any questions the teens might have.
Valor’s most involved aspect is its nine-week, gender-separate curriculum groups. In these groups, approximately 20 teens meet weekly for an hour to read and discuss materials from the Date Safe Project—a nationally recognized curriculum on teen dating violence prevention—participate in activities, and ask and answer questions about domestic and sexual violence.
Valor is making a significant impact on the community. It’s changing the way the young people talk to and about each other and what they are attentive to in their friends’ relationships as well as their own. Parish staff and Valor leaders have found that teens are much more likely to go to adults they trust to disclose and discuss things they see in their own and their friends’ relationships. Valor is essential and unique, as there is no other program or resource like this available to young people in the community.