Lance's Journal: A Columbus "Revolution"


Center for Survivors in Columbus:

(402) 564-2155

The Center for Survivors is a domestic violence and sexual assault program in Columbus that's found a unique way to grab the attention of teenagers across the state.

For the past 15 years, the Center's sponsored a peer education group that has dared to deliver a sometimes shocking presentation dealing with some very controversial topics.

Back in 1998, a group was started that was called The Speakers Bureau. It went from classroom to classroom around Columbus.

Ten years later in 2008, the program transformed into a more assembly based presentation that more often than not, captures students interest from the beginning.

Revolution keeps it real and they average about 24 presentations a school year and each year, more than 3,000 Nebraska students will witness this unflinching view of real life teen dating situations.

Abbie Tessendorf is the Revolution Supervisor and she feels it's important to keep it believable, "We tried before to take out the profanity, but it makes it funny. And I've always said that I'm willing to lose a few adults in order to keep the kids because it's for the kids. If you want to reach kids you have to talk like they do. You have to meet them where they are."

Abbie wants kids to recognize that they've seen these situations before, "Our goal is to make the violence as real as possible which does include profanity, which does include alcohol sometimes. We want the kids to identify it and say, 'Wow, that's what I saw last Saturday, that's what that was."

Oscar Rodriguez feels strongly about the mission of Revolution, "It's a about dealing with men, being a good man and doing the right thing when it comes to women and knowing how to treat a woman and knowing how to be a respectable man and having real values and morals."

Amy price feels it's imperative that domestic violence and teenage sexual assault is addressed in high schools around Nebraska, "You can see it in any school hallway, it happens. So to be part of something that is revolutionary, because we are the only high school peer group that's talking about it and it's such a huge deal that I'm glad that I can make a difference."

Right now there are 44 students from Columbus High School, Columbus Scotus High School and Lakeview High School that are delivering this very important message. Oscar says, "I mean no one's a saint or anything, but it feels good to actually be a part of something that's better than you are, bigger than you are." Abbie adds, "My ultimate goal is to empower kids to make safe decisions in their relationships. I think success for me is also knowing that even if I can't eradicate violence, if I can help that one kid, it'll really make a difference for that one person, so it makes me proud."

Over the years, "Revolution" has performed all across Nebraska, from Scottsbluff to Omaha.

More information on bringing them to your school, call the Center for Survivors in Columbus at (402) 564-2155.


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