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Archive for October, 2011

“i own me” Local Caregivers Empower Teens To Stay Safe

The Spring of Tampa Bay has partnered with Ad2 Tampa Bay to develop a statewide social marketing campaign, “i own me,” empowering youths to set boundaries and prevent violence.

LINK to full article:

Abuse Can Seem Subtle but Lead to Danger

I  recently interviewed Brenda Rouse, director of communications of The  Spring of Tampa Bay, who described how abuse begins in a relationship.  According to Rouse, abuse begins as a situation in which one person in a  relationship does not honor and respect the personal boundaries of the  other person. Boundaries are critical; these are the rules a person  establishes for him or herself and how he or she wants and expects to be  treated.

Rouse gives an example: “If I were a teenage girl, my  boundaries could include how late at night you can call me on the phone,  the words I allow you to use when you speak to me, the pet names you  give me, and even whether or not you display affection to me in the  halls at school. Violate these boundaries, and it’s abusive. These  personal boundaries are often violated before physical violence and  sexual abuse begins.”

Rouse explains that teaching young women how  to recognize, establish and enforce their personal boundaries is  becoming much more difficult in this age of cellphones, Skype and  Facebook and Internet communications. Rouse said that many girls who  have been abused will tell you that the problem often begins when young  men expect girls to answer calls and respond to text messages on a  24-hour cycle. There is no allowable downtime for communication.

Get Teens Involved

Teens can take the pledge “to  demand respect from my boyfriend or girlfriend. I expect to be treated  properly by establishing personal boundaries and to be honored in my  decisions concerning privacy, sex, and affection. I will not tolerate  being physically, verbally, or emotionally hurt” by visiting They also can like the “i own me” Facebook page and follow “i own me” on Twitter.

Why Preventing Teen Violence Is Important

According  to studies published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine,  Journal of Adolescent Health, Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report,  Journal of the American Medical Association and by other researchers:

  • About 1 in 4 teens report verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse each year.
  • About 1 in 11 teens report being a victim of physical dating abuse each year.
  • About 1 in 5 teens report being a victim of emotional abuse.
  • About 1 in 5 high school girls have been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.
  • 80 percent of teens regard verbal abuse as a serious issue for their age group.
  • 1  in 3 teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched,  kicked, slapped, choked or otherwise physically hurt by his or her  partner.
  • About 72 percent of students in 8th and 9th grade report “dating.”
  • By the time they are in high school, 54 percent of students report dating violence among their peers.
  • Nearly 80 percent of girls who have been physically abused in their dating relationships continue to date their abuser.
  • Nearly  1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend  had threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
  • Almost 70 percent of young women who have been raped knew their rapist either as a boyfriend, friend or casual acquaintance.
  • Teen dating abuse most often takes place in the home of one of the partners.
  • The  overall occurrence of dating violence is higher among black students  (13.9 percent) than Hispanic students (9.3 percent) or white students  (7.0 percent), according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Spread the word, and help teens stay safe!

The Poverty Experience: Building Awareness = Compassion = Potential Solutions

My latest article:

More than one in six Floridians are living in poverty — the highest the state poverty rate has been in more than a decade, according to census figures recently released.

Sixteen percent of Floridians were below the poverty level in 2010, up from 14.6 percent in 2009, reflecting a continuation of a steady climb in recent years. Florida’s 2010 rate is the highest it has been since 1995, when it was 16.2 percent. The census data reflect the first full calendar year after the recession of December 2007 to June 2009. (Poverty rates published for local counties in 2009 included: Pinellas County, 13.3 percent; Hillsborough County, 15.2 percent; Pasco County, 13.2 percent; Manatee County, 14.4. percent; Sarasota County, 12.7 percent.)

As for today, October 2011, anecdotal evidence from local social service providers and unemployment statistics paints a picture that is increasingly bleak. This portrait has poverty levels rising even more day by day in response to our country’s current economic recession.

Understanding Leads to Solutions

JWB Children’s Services Council of Pinellas County (JWB) recently partnered with Angelica Norton, founder and CEO of Seed Sowing Sister to create an innovative curriculum, The Poverty Experience. I had the opportunity to participate in The Poverty Experience a few months ago at The Hispanic Leadership Council’s annual conference, and the experience was profound.

The Poverty Experience is a simulation that lasts one hour — 15 minutes equals a day, and families are formed among groups of one to five strangers randomly assigned individual scenarios including age, income and needs of specific family members, rent payments and medical expenses.

Initially, participants are calm, exploring the long lines, politely smiling at one another, moving from station to station to buy food, pay rent, get food stamps, pawn belongings, get to doctor’s offices and buy bus passes.

That’s only for the first 15 minutes. After that, the simulation begins to hit home. People begin to realize they can’t make it. They have not had time and/or money to buy food. They keep getting sent to the back of long lines. They run out of money for transportation. Children wander off in the crowd, and the police remove the children from the families, charging them with abandonment and neglect. People get evicted from their homes because their rent is past due.

The behavior of the crowd changes. They rush from line to line and get annoyed when another person gets a job and they get turned down. Jealousy sinks in. Actual frustration and a sense of urgency take over, and the lightbulb goes off — this is how many of our neighbors live every day.

Core Hardships of Poverty

Five core problems arise when individuals are struggling in poverty. These include:

  1. Affordable housing
  2. Adequate food
  3. Transportation
  4. Affordable child care
  5. Access to communication: phones, addresses, email, Internet, etc.

Without these needs being met consistently, poverty can turn quickly into a downward spiral of progressive illnesses, homelessness and legal issues, including the potential of losing custody of children due to inadequate child care. I have included a video with this article (see above). Benjamin Kirby, communications director of JWB, interviews Jane Walker, executive director of Daystar Life Center, and they discuss many of these issues along with some real solutions.

Bring the Experience to Your Group

The Poverty Experience simulation is available to groups in the Tampa Bay area and throughout the nation. The simulation is designed to help deepen understanding and compassion, which often sparks solution-building.

To bring the simulation to your group, contact Angelica Norton, executive director of Seed Sowing Sister, at; or Shelba Waldron, training manager of JWB Children’s Services Council of Pinellas County, at

A Good Idea: Specializing

Daphne Taylor Street

Hello blog followers! I wanted to attract more blog followers by giving you, the readers here, topics that interest you in an organized fashion. So, I began reorganizing this blog. Yet, the more I planned this out, the more confusing this became. This plan obviously was not going to work. Then it came to me–I need to create specialized blogs so that people know that they are following a blog that means something to them.

So, I now have seperate blogs that cover differnet topics instead of covering all of these topics on a  single blog. My blog was becoming increasingly confusing for people to follow or more importantly, they didn’t want to follow it. Specific posts get huge regular hits, but the blog alone is only followed by a few people who know me personally. Why? I’m all over the place. I can’t generate a following of movie addicts, foodies, performing artists, nonprofit and community lovers, artists or communications geeks because my posts are spread out over all of these topics.

My goal is to post at least every other day on each blog. Considering all of the things I do and the amount of writing I do, this should be easy. I hope you’ll find an interest in one of these topics and follow along, comment on topics and participate with me. I’ll finish setting these up and will post on each site, introducing them one at a time in a blog post here. Thanks for hanging in with me here at Daphne Street’s blog, which will soon be dedicated solely to communications with a heavy integration of gaming and new media.

Happy Trails  –Daphne

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