Upperclassmen use MVP program to mentor health classes

mvpBy: Sarah Stortz

Several juniors and seniors in the MVP program are currently visiting health classes to talk to  the underclassmen about relationships, violence and abuse.

Consisting of over 80 members, MVP stands for Mentors in Violence Prevention and is run by six staff members. One of them, guidance counselor Susan Langan, said that it’s important for students to know more about these kinds of topics because they’re ideas that students talk about anyway, especially with news like the NFL’s recent off field struggles with players like Ray Rice.

“Kids are hearing about that stuff, but I don’t think they’re having structured conversations where they’re also hearing what their options are to deal with it,” she said.

Langan said that discussion among peers gives options and it empowers the students to know that they can make a difference and make the school more accepting. She said that while these problems aren’t outwardly prevalent in our school, they do happen behind closed doors.

Many of the trainers for the MVP program have actually had experiences with friends and family members when it comes to abuse, and it gives a realization that it happens a lot more often than one might think. Junior Cayla Rasmussen is one of the MVP members who talks to female students in health about relationships and having respect for themselves.

To prepare for presenting in each class, Rasmussen and her partner get together to talk about an ice breaker they can use, and they discuss what kinds of questions they want to cover and what points they want to get across. Both try to make each lesson they’re covering fun for the class so everyone can be engaged and open to the conversation.

Rasmussen also thinks it’s very important for kids to learn about these issues because all of the students in each class will eventually become role models for the classes beneath them and for the people they meet in their everyday lives.

“If people are unaware of these issues, then how can they step up and create a safer place for people to have relationships?” she asked. “I also believe that these issues are buried and people choose to not believe in them, which has the potential to be dangerous.”

Rasmussen said she really enjoys doing this because she loves giving people help as much as she can. “If I can bring more attention to it because I am not an adult who is exhausting the topic, I will take every chance that I get. I love to be able to take the chance and get to know the people around me too,” she said. “It also makes me think that we are giving people more of a chance to have a healthy relationship by bringing more attention to the topic.”

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