kNOw MORE May be No More

March 13, 2009 12:20:00 PM PDT
As Oprah Winfrey was focusing her show on domestic and dating violence through the Rihanna-Chris Brown case some students at Fresno High School were learning how to recognize and deal with this insidious abuse in their own lives.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
More domestic violence resources can be found at the bottom of this story ..
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Sadly, these popular classroom peer lessons face extinction as the money to fund them runs out.

Thousands of Frenso County teen students watch skits performed by other kids from their own high school acting out the issue. Teachers tell us these peer educators are very effective, "I'm sick of your high school girl attitude, grow up Nicole. Just look at you a 16 year old girl getting pregnant. Nicole - I didn't want get pregnant I didn't want to have sex."

We sat in on a class where Fresno High School teens were teaching fellow students to understand and reject teen dating violence; whether physical, emotional or sexual. They are KnoW More peer educators and volunteers like Venus Vasquez, "Just because their boy friend tells them or their girlfriend tells them that they love them, then its ok being abused."

Fresno High is one of eleven Fresno county high schools with "KnoW More" peer educators.

They learn from young counselors working for the Marjaree Mason center. The non-profit resource for domestic violence victims took over the program a year ago. At the time it was being cut by the Fresno County Health Department. Some grant money followed the program to the Marjaree Mason Center. The program's mission is to fight dating violence among teens.

Fresno High teacher Laurie Billings sites recent discussions in her own classes about the Rihanna - Chris brown issue that offer a clear reason for the need, "And it was surprising to me that they really didn't see it as clear cut abuse, really."

These peer educators site a national survey showing that 1 in 4 teens in a relationship suffer physical or emotional abuse. And they drive that point home in class after class.

Miranda Tellez knows the cycle of violence all too well. One of her close relatives was in an abusive relationship, "It went on for a long time and then when it finally broke off everything was fine until she went back with the man and it happened again. People really need to understand if they are in an abusive relationship they need to get help." This teen is now working to prevent and stop it among kids at her school.

That message took hold in the class we attended as the teens opened up; telling their own stories of watching, knowing about or seeing abuse at home or in their own teen relationships.

Unfortunately that message is about to disappear all over Fresno county according toe Elizabeth Camarena, a Marjaree Mason Center Volunteer, "We're in 11 high schools and outreaching thousands Marjaree Mason Center of student's everyday and come July 1st will probably not be available anymore."

The grant monies that fostered the program for three years, first at Fresno County Health Department and now the Marjaree Mason Center will run out the end of June.

For additional information on KnoW More and Marjaree Mason Center click on the "See it on TV" link at the top of our home page.

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Marjaree Mason Center Website
www.mmcenter.org
Marjaree Mason Center
Emergency Shelter and Counseling 24 Hour Hotline 237-4706 - 233-HELP

CALL 911 IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY OR FOR POLICE

Police Departments
Clovis Police Department - 324-2400
Fowler Police Department - 834-2112
Fresno County Sheriff - 800-522-0086
Fresno Police Department - 498-1414
Other Agencies
kNOw MORE/Count to Ten - 445-3234
California Youth Crisis Line 24 Hour Hotline
Bilingual (Spanish & English) - 800-843-5200
Centra La Familia -Child Abuse Prevention
Individual and Family Counseling (Spanish & English) - 237-8530
Central Valley Indian Health Services
Individual and Family Counseling - 299-2634
Comprehensive Youth Services
Individual, Family, Group Counseling - 229-3561
Fresno County EOC - The Sanctuary
Emergency Shelter for runaway and at-risk youth
Ages 11-17 (Safe Place ©) Group Counseling, Education, and Activities - 498-8543
Mom & Kid's Hotline 800-640-0333
Rape Counseling Services
West Fresno Crisis Center
24 Hour Crisis Intervention 24 Hour Hotline 497-2900
800-891-2141
222-7273
Victims of Crime Resource Center
Information and Referrals M-F 8am-6pm 800-842-8467

Merced County
Valley Crisis Center
(209) 725-7900
www.safemerced.org

Tulare County
Family Services
(559) 732-5941-Visalia
(559) 685-9515- Tulare
www.fstc.net

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