AVDA’s Commit to Change: A Violence Prevention Initiative was developed in partnership with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This state-wide initiative is supported by the Governor’s office in response to the Center for Disease Control’s call to end intimate partner violence, a leading health concern worldwide. Implementation of the plan began in 2008. AVDA implements primary prevention curricula with youth in Palm Beach County. As part of the program, students are encouraged to and supported in developing community impact projects that bring the skills they have learned deeper into their community. This program positively changes the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors young people hold about violence and abuse. As a result of AVDA’s successful programming at Boynton Beach Community High School, AVDA received the School District of Palm Beach County Bronze Business Partnership Award in May 2010.
Commit to Change classroom presentations consist of educational presentations, done in classroom settings for students in grades K-12. The presentations in elementary school settings place an emphasis on healthy friendships, building self-esteem, expressing feelings, nonviolent ways of problem solving and safety planning. Educating children on how to stay safe, set boundaries with friends, make choices about behavior and handle bullying situations contribute toward building a healthy emotional state that affects their academic, family and social life. Presentations in the middle and high schools covers topics relating to dating violence, peer violence, healthy relationships, conflict resolution, and safety planning. Through education and empowerment, young people can learn to live violence free, enriched, and healthy lifestyles. AVDA’s educators are also available to provide presentations to social service agencies working with adolescents and school age children.
In 2015, AVDA was awarded funding to specifically work with young men and boys to prevent domestic violence funded through a federal grant from the Office on Violence Against Women to FCADV and passed through to AVDA. This programming component engages adult male allies to mentor boys in developing skills to engage in healthy relationships and create a public education campaign to promote healthy relationships in our county. October 1, 2017, AVDA was awarded a grant from Palm Beach County Division of Youth Services to hire another Violence Prevention Educator to expand AVDA’s prevention program by starting Men of Strength Clubs engaging men and boys in building individualized definitions of masculinity that promote healthy relationships. Commit to Change programming creates the social change necessary to reduce inequities and disparities within our community that works against women’s empowerment, self-determination, economic, and gender equity by empowering young women and mobilizing young men as allies in reducing violence against women and girls.