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Elijah Haven addresses abuse in teen relationships with award-winning drama

For the third year, Elijah Haven Crisis Intervention Center is bringing an important message on teen dating violence to area schools. Middle and high school students will view the drama “The Outrage” in convocations at the schools and in youth groups throughout March.

Nine LaGrange County students will present the award-winning drama Thursday, March 20, in a free public performance beginning at 7 p.m. on the stage of The Blue Gate Theater in Shipshewana. The event is an opportunity for the community to become aware of the issue of violence and abuse among adolescents and to learn how they can become part of the solution to the problem.

Nationwide, one in five high school students reports being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner and one in three teenagers reports knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, strangled or physically hurt by their partner. The majority of parents admit they are unaware that dating violence is an issue among teenagers.

Jennifer May, guidance counselor at Westview Junior High, had this to say about "The Outrage": "It was so powerful. The drama sparked a lot of conversations among students about dating violence. It's important for us to start this conversation with our younger kids."

In addition to the drama, local organizations providing services for youth will be on hand to share information about the work they are doing in the community. Members of the cast also will answer questions about the subject of dating violence.

Cast members are Erika Byler, Samantha Anderson, Drew Sumwalt and Tiffani Tefft from Westview High School, Samuel Miller from Lakeland High School, Lizzie Kratz, Cassie Glick and Evan Gunthorp from Prairie Heights High School, and Frank Trandicosta from Howe Military School. Westview senior Samantha Anderson serves as student director while Ingrid Lochamire, education and public relations coordinator for Elijah Haven, organized the project.

“The Outrage” production is funded by grants from LaGrange County REMC's Operation Round-Up and the LaGrange County Community Foundation L.I.F.E. Youth Pod.