Written by Meghna Sehrawat, Vista Del Lago Junior and Hands4Hope Youth Board Treasurer
The Hands4Hope Youth Board, comprised of Hands4Hope leaders from seven local high schools in El Dorado and Sacramento Counties, worked extremely hard to create this fundraiser, Miles4Smiles, during COVID-19.
Alarmed at the increase of domestic violence during COVID-19, we knew we wanted to help victims affected any way they could. After researching and interviewing The Center For Violence-Free relationships, the entire Youth Board knew it would be a perfect fit.
The Center provides aid to domestic abuse victims, helping victims as young as 14 years of age. Their services range from emergency assistance, to long-term healing assistance for survivors.
What particularly drew our attention was The Center’s focus on preventing potential abusers through childhood education programs. Through their TEACH program, they have helped young students learn the foundations for building healthy relationships. We form our perception of care, connection, and relationships during childhood, so it is important that The Center continues its work in this field. Their TEACH program has even been so successful that it has been recognized by the California Department of Public Health.
Another reason The Center stands out is its commitment to addressing the problem of domestic abuse from all angles. Oftentimes, abusers have witnessed abuse or been abused themselves, leading them to continue the cycle. However, The Center focuses on their Positive Solutions Program, which works to educate and reform past abusers. Students in this program learn to practice non-violence, finding substitutes for abusive behavior. The Center addresses the root cause of abuse by helping both those abused, as well as the abusers. The Center for Violence-Free Relationships has truly been transforming our community. With every ticket from Miles4Smiles sold, The Center gets more funding to continue its mission of ending the domestic abuse around us. Please consider participating in our run so that the Center can continue to be supported!