loveisrespect Hosts 2013 National Youth Advisory Board (NYAB) Conference

Young leaders from the loveisrespect National Youth Advisory Board (NYAB) met from July 12 to 14 during their annual conference in Los Angeles to discuss upcoming goals and plans for the following year that will help spread awareness about teen dating violence and encourage healthy relationships for everyone.

From sessions about pop culture and the media on teen relationships to sharing personal stories, NYAB members got the opportunity to listen and learn from each other, as well as voice their opinions on ways to improve loveisrespect. Board members broke down into project team sessions that focused on different aspects of loveisrespect, plus projects underway in Washington, D.C., peer education and outreach.

Participants underwent training with loveisrespect trainers about Dating Violence 101, including types of dating abuse, healthy versus unhealthy relationships, safe ways to resolve conflicts, and understanding the ways in which they could talk to friends and family about dating abuse. Senior (returning) members were trained to give educational presentations in their community.

During a very busy three days, the board developed all kinds of amazing plans for the upcoming year. Making Respect Week 2014 bigger, creating a dating advice column on loveisrespect.org, participating in legislative advocacy, giving input on key service provider programs across the country, and making their presence more widely known on the website and within their own communities are just a few of the ways they’re actively working towards expanding their reach.

For National Youth Advisory Board Chair Melissa Siegel, the conference was a success. “It allowed us to connect with each other face to face to build relationships that make for a productive, positive, and welcoming board culture,” said Siegel. “As Chair of the NYAB, my goal is to encourage shared leadership among other members of the board.”

Likewise, their collective goals “are to create a board where everyone’s shared leadership allows us to complete the projects we have set out to complete and moves us forward for a sustainable future as we bring in new and more diverse board members in the coming years,” said Siegel.

Moreover, loveisrespect took time to film video of the conference, as well as individual interviews, “love is...” interviews and an extension of the “How Do You Define Love?” PSA.

It wasn’t all work either! Everyone saw the sights and sounds of Los Angeles on an exciting bus tour, along with fun bonding activities like dining in Marina Del Rey and visiting the world famous Hollywood Walk of Fame and Santa Monica Pier.

Our NYAB members had plenty of insight to share about the retreat. Raul Sanchez said he enjoyed learning presentation and tabling skills. “I feel much more confident,” said Sanchez. “I'm looking forward to seeing the progress we make in a year.”

Isabel Nicholls, another NYAB leader in attendance, said she realized she’s comfortable promoting healthy relationships in the classroom, but found it difficult to talk about in public. “Outside a controlled environment, such as Third Street Promenade, where I have to up to strangers, I am far out of my comfort zone,” said Nicholls.

“My favorite session was ‘Sharing Your Story,’” said NYAB member Allyanna Pittman. “I was able to see confident people stand up and share their experience with such grace. They were wonderful examples. Everything that was taught in that presentation was extremely useful not only in sharing experiences of dating violence, but in public speaking generally. I also felt so much closer to my fellow board members after hearing them deliver such powerful stories.”

“My number one takeaway from the experience was building personal connections with the other board members and seeing all the amazing experiences and knowledge that everyone brings,” said Siegel. “I cannot wait to see where we go from here.”