February 4, 2016

Texas Advocacy Project Kicks Off 2nd Annual Ambassadors of Hope Campaign

AUSTIN, TX – Texas Advocacy Project (the Project) kicks off its 2nd annual Teen Ambassadors of Hope Campaign in conjunction with the start of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Through February, teens from across Texas will apply — or be nominated — to participate in the teen leadership initiative. Applications will be reviewed by a committee comprised of the Project’s Board of Directors and staff, who will select 22 candidates to represent the 2016 Teen Ambassador cohort based upon their community involvement and social engagement.

Campaign goals are threefold: engage young leaders in raising awareness about dating violence; promote the Project’s mission and services; and raise needed funds for the organization. Throughout the campaign, participants will draw from skills acquired during requisite trainings provided by the Project covering healthy relationships, dating violence, leadership, marketing, and grassroots fundraising. In addition, these young contributors are invited to participate in an exclusive Leadership Training class led by Dr. Barry Bales. While spearheading their individual campaigns, Teen Ambassadors will compete among each other for the title of Teen Ambassador of the Year 2016 while returning 2015 Teen Ambassadors will compete for the title of Legacy Teen Ambassador.

“I’m a Teen Ambassador of Hope because I want to raise awareness about teen dating violence. Through this program, I learned how to spot red flags in my friends’ and my own relationships,” said Caroline McKenzie, 2015 Teen Ambassador.

“I learned how to promote awareness about something I feel strongly about. I want to make a difference and spread awareness about teen dating violence,” said Brianna Rezler, 2015 Teen Ambassador of the Year

“We are thrilled to engage with these young leaders and give them the tools to make a difference with their peers and community. Dating violence is the most common form of violence among adolescents, so it’s important that teens are opening up a dialogue to talk about what it means to be in a healthy relationship,” said Heather Bellino, Executive Director.

Applications will be accepted now through February 29th. Selected ambassadors will be notified March 11th and in April will attend a skills training workshop led by industry experts. The fundraising portion of the campaign will run from May 1st – July 8th. All participants will receive credit for their volunteer work and will be recognized for their efforts at an awards luncheon in July. More details: youtube.com/TeenHope2016.

Issue Summary
One in three U.S. teens is the victim of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse by a dating partner –a figure that far exceeds other types of youth violence. Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence -almost triple the national average. Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting victims at higher risk for substance abuse, risky sexual behaviors, and further abuse (statistics from: www.LoveIsRespect.org).

About Texas Advocacy Project
Established in 1982 with a vision that no child should ever see one parent harm the other, Texas Advocacy Project’s services affect the lives of thousands of Texans each year. The Project offers a range of legal and advocacy services proven to break the cycle of violence. In 2015, the Project provided legal services in 5,560 cases, serving 13,430 Texans. If you or someone you know needs help, call The Project’s Family Violence Legal Line: (800) 374-HOPE.