Youth from YAP – Middlesex County office participated in the creation of a Healthy Relationships mural in the city of New Brunswick. Before working on the mural, youth were part of a Healthy Relationships workshop given by our partners of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Community Health Promotion Program. The healthy relationships workshop was led by Elaine Hewins, DVS who covered topics on the DV cycle of violence, different types of dv abuse, and healthy relationships characteristics among others. As part of the workshop, our youth were asked to define what Love is. Some of their answers were:
- Love is Acceptance, Not Discrimination
- Love is Not Changing Who you Are
- Love is Feeling Safe
- Love is Knowing Each Other’s Limits
- Love is Not Disrespect, nor Controlling the Person
- Love is Love
- Love Has No Race, Gender, Religion
- Love is Respect, Consent, & Equality
- Love Is Freedom
When asked what something new they have learned is, one youth commented “I learned about what a healthy relationship looks like.”
The second part to the workshop was working with a local artist, Ingrid Morales, in a community mural. As a result, the Love is Respect community mural was designed and painted with the assistance of our youth. For four days, our youth worked preparing the wall, painting and cleaning the mural site for preparation of the community “unveiling” of the mural. While working at the mural, the youth heard from residents who passed by and/or driving on how great of a job they were doing which gave our youth a sense of pride and ownership.
The unveiling of the mural took place on July 20th, at 6:00pm; present were our mural project partners, YAP's youth and advocates, First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet, MC Prosecutors Office Reginald Johnson, Gina Bowser, Rainbow of Hope Program with their youth, as well as other community agencies and residents
The mural project was in partnership with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Community Health Promotion Program, the New Brunswick Domestic Violence Awareness Coalition, and Rutgers Collaborative Center for Service Learning.