The Importance of The Retreat’s Teen Leadership Council

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By Christina, a Retreat Volunteer and College Student

As a college senior, I am not exactly a high schooler, yet I attend the Teen Leadership Council
(TLC) meetings as a volunteer and intermediary for the students. These meetings have impressed
me in countless ways thus far.

Primarily, the students are very well-versed in the signs of domestic violence and understand
what healthy communication should look like. The returning volunteers especially seem to
recognize the signs of abuse. When given scenarios of instances where a peer needed support,
the suggestions they gave were some that I, a fourth-year psychology student, would not be able
to conceive.

However, the main reason I find the TLC to be a vital addition to The Retreat is because of the
incorporation of pop culture into its lessons. During our first meeting, students were able to fill
out a bingo card with different red flags presented in various scenes of popular television series.
Not only does this help the high school students relate to the content they are learning, but it also
shows them that much of what is displayed in the media as favorable is much more unhealthy
than society assumes. It allows them to familiarize themselves with what a toxic relationship or
conversation may look like and can aid in the identification of these red flags in their
relationships or those of their peers.

No matter what kind of relationship an adolescent is in, it is imperative for them to be able to
establish boundaries and recognize the signs of abuse. The Retreat is implementing harm
reduction approaches by educating the youth on what they should look out for, while also
continuing to provide support to those who find themselves in abusive relationships.

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