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Young Hearts Matter Awards

2017 Young Hearts Matter Awards

Young Hearts Matter, a Texas campaign to prevent dating abuse, kicks off Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month at the Capital today. Hosted by TCFV & TAP, the event brings together youth from across the state, including the Young Hearts Matter Leadership Board who exist to build capacity, motivation, and opportunities for young leaders to promote healthy relationships in Texas. The event also recognizes key leaders from across the state who have inspired and led efforts in their own communities to promote healthy relationships among youth.

2017 Young Hearts Matter Award Winners

 

Activist of the Year

Zoe writing on board Zoe2

This award recognizes a young person who has been a driving force for social change among their peers and has done significant work to promote awareness and prevention of dating abuse in their community or school.

Zoe Arora, the Young Hearts Matter Activist of the Year, is a 15 year old sophomore at Lake Travis High School. She’s being recognized for her work with the Texas Advocacy Project’s (TAP) Teen Ambassadors of Hope Program. TAP provides FREE legal services to victims of domestic & dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. They select 20-25 student leaders for the Ambassadors of Hope program to help champion their work, promote awareness of dating violence and healthy relationships, and raise funds for the program. In addition to learning about healthy relationships, ambassadors also receive training on leadership, marketing, and branding as part of their participation.

In 2016, Zoe received the Teen Ambassador of Hope of the Year for her ability to not only raise funds for the agency, but create a widespread campaign that raised awareness about dating abuse in her community.  “Zoe’s drive and passion was evident throughout her entire fund raising campaign. Zoe went above and beyond to create an unforgettable fundraiser- a combination of collecting donations, and an interactive program to engage passersby in conversations about dating abuse awareness and prevention. She gathered a group of friends to help her table three stations in front of Whole Foods Market. The first station was where people donated and picked up flyers about the initiative. Her next station included a large white board that encouraged people to write a positive messages about healthy relationships and lastly, a station where she sang. The thought and detail she put into her fundraiser goes to show that she is a well-rounded individual who thinks about all aspects of delivering a message and engaging people through the process. In the end, she came in 1st with raising a total of $6,420! These accomplishments greatly impact the community by raising funds for survivors who need FREE legal services and by spreading the message to people of all ages to put a halt to dating abuse and violence. 

Aside from her participation in this event, Zoe is involved in her school Student Council as well as Baking 2 Benefit, where students bake for their local homeless shelter at her school. In her spare time, she partakes in a number of volunteer activities – at New Children’s Life Center, Silverado Memory Care Community, Relay for Life, School Round Up Guide and Refugee Services of Texas.” – Heather Bellino – TAP ED

Advocate of the Year

Sarah and Team Sarah Brandon This award recognizes an adult ally who partners with young people, is a leader for violence prevention in their community, and has made prevention programming more accessible as a result of their efforts.

Attorney Sarah K. Brandon received the 2017 Young Hearts Matter Advocate of the Year Award presented by the Texas Council on Family Violence. Each year, TCFV recognizes individuals who are leading the cause to prevent and end teen dating abuse from communities across Texas. Ms. Brandon was nominated by Marla Johnson of the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center.

Sarah Brandon says the award belongs to the community of Dripping Springs, specifically the students at Dripping Springs High School.

For the past six years Sarah Brandon has dedicated her time and talents to raising awareness about the dangers of dating violence, especially in Dripping Springs where she lives and manages The Law Offices of Sarah K. Brandon, P.C. Sarah initially began working with students during her time on the Board of the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center; she organized two fundraisers for the Dripping Springs Bench Bar Conferences, four Mock Trials, has been a leading member of HCWC’s Dripping Springs Town Team, helped support the 1 in 3 5K in 2015, and worked tirelessly to support each year’s HCWC Annual Auction. Through her work with the Dripping Springs Dating Violence Advisory Board (DVAB), Sarah helped form and provides mentorship to the student-led group at Dripping Springs High School. They adopted the slogan “First Love Yourself” (FLY) as a reminder to students to respect themselves and understand that they deserve to be treated well.

The original goal was to inspire these students to be empowered with the warning signs of dating violence. I found a way to do this while involving our judicial system, the school district, and the community. The students took this program and now inspire the adults, the volunteers and one another. The Dripping Springs High School students have given me confidence in the future of our community. “I now have a new goal for this program.” Brandon said, “It is to expand this program into every high school and college in the State of Texas.


TCFV would also like to recognize the amazing Young Hearts Matter Award nominees from across the state who continue to do amazing work on this issue:

Activist of the Year Nominees

Advocate of the Year Nominees

Harley&Dalight2

Da’Light Clay, San Angelo, TX – Break the Box Leadership Program

ChristyBazaldoa

Christy Bazaldua, Tulia, TX – Tulia High School Teacher

DaneilaGonzalez

Daniela Gonzalez, Brownsville, TX – Veterans Memorial Early College High School 

Cotton-Bernard

Jessica Cotton-Bernard, La Port, TX – Communities in Schools Site Coordinator at La Port High School

Harley&Dalight2

Harley Pittman, San Angelo, TX – Break the Box Leadership Program

LaTasha

La Tasha Jackson-McDougle, Fort Worth, TX – Cheryl’s Voice

InsiyaA

Insiya Aziz, Dripping Springs, TX – Dating Violence Awareness & Advocacy Board – DSHS

RosieMartinez

Rosie Martinez, Edinburg, TX – Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney – Victims Unit

XimenaCXimena Coronado, Garland, TX – Garland High School

TiffanyJones

Tiffany Jones, Dallas, TX – STAR Parent Sponsor for Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support

2016 Nominees and Winners

2015 Nominees and Winners

2016 Young Hearts Matter Social Media Winners

 

Week 1:

@loveisbtx, a collaboration between Boerne ISD and Kendall County Women’s Shelter, formed a team of young people who promoted healthy relationships during TDVAPM with their “Love Is” Campaign.

loveisbtx

Week 2:

Aleleone Vargas, from Columbus Jr. High School – Riverside Campus, participated in the Family Crisis Center #ourheartsmatter Photo Booth submitted by @FCCPrevention  

FCCPrevention

Week 3:

Samantha Martinez & the Juarez Lincoln High School Law Enforcement Club collaborated with the Hidalgo County Family Violence Task Force to host the Young Hearts Matter 2K walk & pep rally.  

Hidalgo

 

Week 4:

Women’s Shelter of South Texas traveled to area schools like Gregory-Portland High School to snap photos and talk about healthy relationships with their #WSSTX campaign.

WSSTX

 

2016 Young Hearts Matter Awards

2016 Young Hearts Matter Award Winners

 

Activist of the Year

Lizzie2Lizi Xiong, Bellaire High School, Houston, TX

This award recognizes a young person who has been a driving force for social change among their peers and has done significant work to promote awareness and prevention of dating abuse in their community or school.

16 year old Lizi Xiong founded the Young Women United USA (YWUU), an international non-profit with over 400 members in 6 countries. The mission, to break down cultural barriers, protect human rights, provide empowerment tools for women, and inform the public about world affairs. Though the organization started as a local area organization, Lizi decided to expand the organization to include international chapters after networking and participating in a series of national youth leadership trainings.

Lizi successfully produced one of the winning videos in the TCFV #ManUp video contest held during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and continued her efforts to raise awareness about domestic violence on social media with the YWUU #AgressionIsNotAffection project. The project moved from social media to film when Lizi and her peers produced a 16
minute documentary about their experiences and knowledge about teen dating violence. Lizi has been described as an empathetic and respectful leader who is changing the world.

Advocate of the Year

Pillich2Coach Jennifer Pillich, Girls Athletic Coordinator, Manor ISD, Manor, TX

This award recognizes an adult ally who partners with young people, is a leader for violence prevention in their community, and has made prevention programming more accessible as a result of their efforts.

Coach Jennifer Pillich was nominated for her passion and leadership to empower young people, particularly girls, in Manor, TX. She is driven by the cause to provide young girls with a foundation for successful relationships and futures, using her position as a coach to lead a movement in Manor ISD. Coach Pillich speaks and acts from the heart, conveying her love and respect for every young person in her care.

In September 2015, Coach Pillich was one of eleven local coaches and advocates attending A Call to Men’s National Conference entitled, “Sports Culture: Advancing its role in preventing domestic violence and sexual assault.” Energized and inspired, she immediately created a 2-part Empowerment Workshop for over 85 female athletes. Using the No More campaign as a starting point, Coach Pillich designed T-Shirts, activities, and a Twitter hashtag to share her enthusiasm throughout MISD and beyond – and this is just the beginning! Coach Pillich served as a panelist who presented to the City of Austin/Travis County Family Violence Task Force in 2015 and plans to continue her efforts to empower female athletes and promote healthy relationships amongst young people.

Texas Partner for Change

Coaches2D.W. Rutledge and the Texas High School Coaches Association

This award recognizes a community leader whose partnerships and efforts have given voice to violence prevention and have inspired systemic or community wide change across the state of Texas. 

The Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) takes an active role in developing Texas coaches to be key, positive role models in the lives of student athletes and pivotal actors in promoting better lives for those they coach.  As the Executive Director of the THSCA, D.W. Rutledge epitomizes this role. Seen as one of the most successful high school coaches in Texas football history, his accolades do not end there.  Showing his commitment to impacting positive change, he co-authored a book, Coaching to Change Lives that promotes the role of athletic programs in developing values in the young people they serve.  Additionally, he has been an active supporter of educating coaches on Coaching Boys into Men, a curriculum designed to help prevent dating violence among young athletes.

For several years the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) has prioritized supporting Texas coaches in working to end domestic violence and promoting healthy relationships among their athletes. D.W. Rutledge and The Texas Coaches Association continues to be a key partner in this work by supporting the presence of the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) at the Annual Texas Coaches Leadership Summit, which promotes “Coaching Beyond the Game” as well as the Annual THSCA Convention and Coaching School, which draws an attendance of over 12,000 people including coaches and athletic directors from across the state of Texas.  

As a coach, D.W. Rutledge has touched the lives of so many athletes and as the head of the THSCA, he touches the lives of countless others. For his relentless commitment to young hearts in Texas, the Texas Council on Family Violence names D.W. Rutledge as this year’s Young Hearts Matter Texas Partner for Change. 


Activist of the Year Nominees

Recognizing a young person who has been a driving force for social change among their peers and has done significant work to promote awareness and prevention of dating abuse in their community or school.

Photo_H.Siddiqi_B

Hibba Siddiqi, Houston
HPD Youth Policy Advisory Council

Photo_S.Martinez_B

Sam Martinez, La Joya
Rio Grande Valley VOC Program,
Juarez Lincoln High School Law Club

Photo_S.Lighteard_B

Shasparay Lighteard,
Round Rock
Community activist & poet

Photo_L.Xiong_B

Lizi Xiong, Houston
Young Women United – USA

Photo_A.Saenz_B

Alejandra Saenz, Del Valle
Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble

Photo_J.James_B

Jimmy James, Houston
Love is Respect Board Member,
HPD Youth Policy Advisory Council

Photo_C.McKenzie_B

Caroline McKenzie, Austin
Texas Advocacy Project Teen Ambassador 

 

 Advocate of the Year Nominees

Recognizing an adult ally who partners with young people, is a leader for violence prevention in their community, and has made prevention programming more accessible as a result of their efforts.

Photo_N.Richardson_B

Nathan Richardson, Denton
Denton County Friends of the Family

Photo_M.Gambrell_B

Marilyn Gambrell, Houston
No More Victims, Inc.

Photo_J.Cabrera_B

Superintendent Juan Cabrera,
El Paso Independent School District

Photo_H.Hightower_B

Hillarye Hightower, Denton
Denton County Friends of the Family

Photo_F.Briceno_B

Florence Briceno, Austin
Travis County Sheriff’s Office

Photo_A.Stafford_B

Angie Stafford, Victoria
Midcoast Family Services

Photo_T.Bradley_B

Tonya Bradley, Houston
Ronald McDonald House

Photo_J.Pillich_B

Jennifer Pillich, Manor
Girls Athletic Coordinator,
Manor ISD

Texas Partner for Change Nominees

Recognizing a community leader whose partnerships and efforts have given voice to violence prevention and have inspired systemic or community wide change across the state of Texas.

2016 Young Hearts Matter Award Nominees

These awards recognize individuals who inspire and lead their communities to promote healthy relationships for young hearts in Texas. Recipients will be honored in February 2016 and will receive a $200 honorarium for the Activist of the Year and Advocate of the Year award categories.

Read more

2016 Young Hearts Matter Award Nominations

Texas Council on Family Violence is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Young Hearts Matter awards. These awards recognize individuals who inspire and lead their communities to promote healthy relationships for young hearts in Texas. Recipients will be honored in February 2016 and will receive a $200 honorarium for the Activist of the Year and Advocate of the Year award categories.

Read more

2015 Young Hearts Matter Awards

2015 Young Hearts Matter Award Winners

 

Activist of the Year

This award recognizes a youth ally who is an activist in their community or school, a leader among their peers, and has done outstanding work to spread awareness and prevent dating and sexual violence.

N.GrayNicole Gray, Focusing Families, Hempstead, TX
Nicole is currently interning at Focusing Families in Hempstead, TX. There she helps facilitate healthy relationships sessions to her peer groups at Hempstead Middle School. She passionately stands before groups of students and helps lead conversations that will end violence in communities. A survivor herself, Nicole has never let that define her. Instead, she has used her process of healing to find her voice to stop all forms of violence to her generation. Additionally, Nicole has helped Focusing Families start becoming more youth focused, once again giving voice to her generation. 

Advocate of the Year

This award recognizes an adult ally who partners with young people, is a leader for violence prevention in their community, and has made prevention programming more accessible as a result of their efforts.

Ambrus (2)Sarah Ambrus, C-Squared, Leander, TX
Sarah Ambrus is a special education teacher for Leander ISD and one of the original co-sponsors of C-Squared. C-Squared, or Coalition of Clubs, started in 2010 where students joined together to encourage a culture of kindness on their campus. Sarah and co-author, Christine Simpson, chronicled the collaborative models, practical tools, and firsthand accounts from students, parents and teachers who worked together to positively influence their campus in their book, “Riding Shotgun: Empowering Students to Lead Change.” From these beginnings, the C-Squared movement has grown and spread to 33 elementary, middle, and high schools across Leander ISD, most of whom were designated No Place for Hate campuses by the Anti-Defamation League in 2014. Much of this growth can be attributed to the support Sarah offers during her free C-Squared sponsor trainings.


Activist of the Year Nominees

X.ThompsonXavier Thompson, United Voices 4 Change, Ft. Worth, TX
Xavier Thompson is the President of United Voices 4 Change, a unified body of student leaders from campuses across Ft. Worth ISD. The mission of UV4C is to address common concerns, provide service to their community, and teach positive qualities to help create problem free communities. The UV4C elects its own representatives from each school, including the group’s officers. Each year the UV4C hosts a youth retreat to help train the new teams of students on their mission, and plan events they want to see happen in their school. Xavier plays a key role in planning this retreat and is responsible for submitting the group’s agendas to the Ft.WISD school board and superintendent. Last spring, Xavier was chosen to do a local TEDx talk on INOK, or It’s Not Okay, a campaign started by the UV4C to talk about making respect the social norm in their communities. This is Xavier’s 3rd year in UV4C and he is truly a great young man with a heart to make a difference in the world.

Z.HassanZara Hassan, Be Project, Dallas, TX
Zara was a part of The Family Place Be Project leadership group in her school, Turner High School, for two years before graduating in 2012. During that time, she served as a leader and role model to her peers by implementing awareness activities on her campus. After graduating, Zara stayed connected to The Family Place Be Project. Last summer she volunteered with Be Project staff and helped present workshops on empathy and bullying to kids at a summer camp. Zara has been an amazing leader at the Be Project.

 

Advocate of the Year Nominees

J.TempleJeff Temple, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Jeff Temple is a professional who has dedicated his career advocating for healthy teen relationships. He wears many hats, one of which is an associate professor for the department of obstetrics and gynecology at UTMB – Galveston. Dr. Temple is also the Director of Behavioral Health and Research where he dedicates much of his research to adolescent behavior, sexual health, and teen dating violence. In 2013, Dr. Temple published a study on the Need for School-Based Teen Dating Violence Prevention programs. He currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Task Force for DV HB2620, which aims to inform the Texas Legislator about appropriate domestic violence interventions and improvements to responses, and as a Board of Trustees of Galveston ISD.

 

A.Miller2Amy Miller, St. Thomas Aquinas, Dallas, TX
In addition to being the school counselor at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, Amy Miller goes above and beyond to make sure that each student on the upper school campus receives messages about empathy and healthy relationships in an effort to create a kind and bully-free STA through her partnership with the Be Project. This is not an easy task as STA is the largest Catholic Pk-8th grade school in Texas! Be Project is a program that empowers youth to be a part of the solution to end relationship violence and has been implemented at STA for the past three years. Amy has made it her personal responsibility to assist Be Project staff with facilitating the Be Project program on campus and currently oversees the Be More leadership group, a group of student leaders who organize awareness events on campus. This year Amy has helped Be More students organize and implement a secret school-wide flash dance during Bullying Awareness Month in October and the group continues to plan events for the spring semester! Amy is a true ally who has helped to give space to young people’s voices in her school community.