Everyone knows the saying, you live and learn. But sadly, some victims of domestic violence and abuse never got the chance to.

That's why The Crisis Center of West Texas has added a new program and approach to the way they're running it. 

"The Teen Leadership Council is a group of students from Permian High School, Odessa High School, and New Tech Odessa and they agreed to be part of a year-long program with us," said Elizabeth Teixeira, Prevention Services Director. 

"So for this semester, from September through December they're going through our leadership training curriculum and doing some fun activities getting to know each other. And then starting next semester, they're really going to be taking another shift and develop skills they learn in other schools and in their communities, raising awareness about intimate partner violence, teen dating violence and sexual assault."

The council all started with Damariz Medina. She noticed some of her own peers struggling with unhealthy relationships, violence and bullying and wanted to do something about it.

"So we were in a conference in Austin with TCFV (Texas Council on Family Violence) and we were just brainstorming new ideas and working with other agencies like team leadership council's. I was like, I really want to bring this to West Texas. We do have a lot of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and we just want teens more involved," said Medina.

The center says they are well aware that peers are the best influencers to their fellow peers, so that's why they've decided on this approach.

"We just want to engage students more than just a classroom- teacher level, to having them really influence our program. We want them to tell us what's effective with people their age as far as preventing violence in our communities," said Teixeira. 

The center says prevention starts as young as seventh and eighth grade, because that's when students start to date. Some of the options they'll have is setting up campaigns they're passionate about at their own high school and even middle schools.

"The interest in students and joining the team leadership council was far more than we had anticipated. That's been really exciting and we have teams coming in, the program was supposed to be every other week, but they've been asking to come every week and do a project," said Teixeira.

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