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Our Back to School Wish for You

Across Westmoreland County, kids of all ages are headed back to school this week, after a summer of sun, perhaps a bit too much rain, and hopefully some adventure. Now, it is time for pencils, books, and all of the promise that a new school year holds.

At Blackburn Center, we know that school can be stressful for many kids and parents alike. For others, school is a safe haven, away from problems that they may face in their homes or communities. Whatever the case may be, we are here to support anyone who needs us. Our hotline (1-888-832-2272 or 724-836-1122) is open 24/7, and our services are available to all victims of violence and crime.

Along with providing services, our goal is to make a difference in our community so that all of us — including our children — can live free from all types of violence and abuse. One of the ways that we do that is through training and education programs designed to give community members a better understanding of issues such as domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and more. In schools, our education programs are tailored to age-appropriate topics like teen dating violence, bullying, and online safety.

Each year, we reach thousands of students throughout Westmoreland County. Our school programs are offered for students from preschool through senior high. Through these programs, we teach kids about:

  • Building Empathy

  • Personal Safety

  • How to Get Along

  • Bullying and Harassment

  • Internet Safety

  • Diversity

  • Family Violence

  • Safe Schools

  • Relationships

  • How to Handle Anger

  • Sexual Harassment

  • Healthy Relationships

  • Unhealthy Relationships

  • Sexual Assault

  • Dating Violence

Each of these programs is tailored to the students’ maturity level, and is specifically designed to best achieve the goals for each age group. For example, at the elementary level, we want students to be able to define and recognize bullying and bullying behaviors, as well as child abuse; we also want them to understand that agencies like ours can help. Our educational programs have demonstrated success in raising awareness and increasing knowledge, measured by surveys done in the classroom. We also make materials available to parents so that they can review them on their own or with their kids.

This brings us to our wish for the upcoming school year, for students of all ages, both here in Westmoreland County and beyond. We wish for your kids to have a school year that is marked by healthy, respectful relationships. We wish for your kids to grow and learn, both in the classroom, and outside of it — including how to be empathetic. And most importantly, we wish for your children (and for everyone) to live a life free from violence. That is our mission — and we ask you to join us in helping us achieve it.

If your school has not scheduled an educational program, it isn’t too late! Contact our office at 724-837-9540 to set up a program for your school, community group, or other organization. Our training and education programs are available free of charge to local schools and organizations.

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