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Raising awareness on domestic violence

IB Diploma Programme (DP) students from Sumter High School worked with a women’s shelter to bring the local community together to take a stand against abuse.

Student participating in the Walk Against Domestic Violence that took place in October

For the 12th year in a row, IB World School Sumter High School, in South Carolina, USA teamed up with the Sumter Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) to organize a Walk Against Domestic Violence in October 2019 – the designated month for Domestic Violence Awareness. But this year was particularly pertinent, as the South Carolina Domestic Violence Committee revealed that Palmetto State ranks as the sixth worst in the nation for domestic-violence deaths.

Over 200 people from the local community attended the walk, which spanned approximately 1.5 miles (approximately 2.4 kilometers) and lasted an hour. The walk raised awareness for the number of people impacted by domestic violence within the area and raised USD$500 for YWCA’s women’s shelter. Necessary household goods were also collected for the shelter.

Walk Against Domestic Violence was started by two Sumter High IB Diploma Programme (DP) students back in 2007. Every year, fellow DP students have continued the initiative as a Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project.

The student organizers of this years Walking Against Domestic Violence march

Students Arianna Parker and Andrea Clark organized the 2019 event. They both have a close connection with YWCA, as their family members have worked with the organization and advocated against domestic violence.  Andrea says: “Domestic violence is not ok, and the only way to raise awareness is to make a public presentation about it.” In order to raise funds and collect supplies for the shelter, they made announcements online, in school, and on the radio, as well as selling baked goods and purple ribbons.

Arianna says: “Many women and children in YWCA have little access to common necessities that most people take for granted. Providing these things make them feel like they are not alone. Collecting toiletries for the women’s shelter is a simple way to make people feel cared for while providing them with things they will actually use.”

The students demonstrated many IB learner profile attributes. They learned how to become strong communicators, reflective, and knowledgeable people. Arianna adds: “We planned everything ahead of time and kept each other up to date with our progress. We also took risks by adding an education component to raise awareness about domestic violence in teens.”

CAS supervisor Ann-Frances Brown adds: “Arianna and Andrea are leaders in and out of the classroom. They know what it means to ‘act locally and think globally’. In addition to organizing the Walk Against Domestic Violence, they realized that there was a need to educate our student body on healthy dating and spotting the early signs of domestic abuse. This made the walk all the more powerful for our students because they were provided with an opportunity to learn more about why this project is so important to our school community, local community, and the global community”

All the students and teachers that participated in the Walk Against Domestic Violence

Arianna and Andrea will continue to support the YWCA. “The amazing people who run the shelter deserve every form of assistance available because they care for vulnerable people who need someone to look out for them,” says Andrea.

This article is part of a series of stories from IB World magazine that bring to life the wonderful initiatives undertaken by IB students and educators from around the globe. Follow these stories on Twitter @IBorganization #IBcommunitystories. Share your great stories and experiences: email [email protected]

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