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From the halls of the State House to the halls of its youth programs, the Department of Youth Services’ (DYS) commitment to uphold the White Ribbon Day’s pledge was clearly visible.

On March 6, DYS staff from various departments, including the Victim Services Unit and DYS Commissioner Forbes joined Health and Human Services Secretary Polanowicz and hundreds of state officials, community groups and supporters at the State House for the 7th Annual White Ribbon Day pledge to advocate against sexual and domestic violence.

Together, the Patrick Administration and youth from across the Commonwealth called an end to female abuse by encouraging programs

DYS Commissioner Peter Forbes and staff at the 7th Annual White Ribbon Day in the State House.

DYS Commissioner Peter Forbes and staff at the 7th Annual White Ribbon Day in the State House.

statewide to take the White Ribbon Day Pledge:

“From this day forward, I promise to be part of the solution in ending violence against women.”

In the weeks prior, DYS distributed white ribbons to its programs and encouraged staff to discuss with youth the importance of the statewide White Ribbon Day Campaign, which is sponsored by Jane Doe, Inc.

DYS staff engaged youth in educational activities to show the critical role men and boys play in ending violence against women. Staff also empowered youth to view themselves as a part of the solution and to play a deliberate role in building respectful, safe, and healthy relationships.

In the Southeast region, a DYS Residential Program took the White Ribbon Day pledge and proudly brought the anti-violence message into its detention unit. The facility tapped into its community of residential staff, clinicians and educators to create teachable moments for young men in DYS custody. In a coordinated effort, staff created a special educational program that was relevant and thought-provoking for youth.

DYS Youth Art inspired by White Ribbon Day  decorates a residential facility.

DYS Youth Art inspired by White Ribbon Day
decorates a residential facility.

DYS residential teachers tailored a school day’s curriculum to incorporate the important values of the White Ribbon Campaign into classroom instruction. For example, as a mathematics lesson, youth closely reviewed data available on domestic abuse and discussed the importance of having an independent, credible author of data. The students later interpreted the data and created user-friendly graphs and charts to share during a classroom presentation. As a visual arts project, youth desgined anti-bullying/anti-abuse posters in the form of white paper t-shirts.  The White Ribbon Day art activity is now proudly displayed in the facility for staff and youth to be reminded of the day’s valuable teaching.

Clinical staff ended the day’s educational activities by analyzing with the youth, modern-day scenarios that average young men and women might typically face.  The hypothetical scenes were discussed in terms of identifying intention, expectation, and response by each individual involved in the pretend scenario.

“The real conversations, data and creativity provided an excellent opportunity for students to grasp what White Ribbon Day is all about,” says DYS Program Director John Pina.  “Additionally, it provided an incredible situation for clinical, staff and education to interact with the residents in an authentic learning environment.”

Click to see Governor Deval Patrick's PSA to invite men and boys to take the pledge & wear the ribbon on March 6, 2014 as Chair of the 2014 Massachusetts White Ribbon Day Campaign
Click to see Governor Deval Patrick’s PSA to invite men and boys to take the pledge & wear the ribbon on March 6, 2014 as Chair of the 2014 Massachusetts White Ribbon Day Campaign

For more information on the White Ribbon Day Campaign and how to involve your community, visit: http://whiteribbonday.janedoe.org

Written By:


Communications Coordinator, Department of Youth Services

Deputy Communications Director, Office of Health and Human Services

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