While DOVE is known for its work providing resources and support for people navigating interpersonal violence on Vashon, our work is just as much about preventing harm from happening in the first place.
DOVE’s newest prevention program, Caring Allies for Relationship Equity, or CARE Club, works to bring prevention education to elementary aged youth K-5 in interactive, fun weekly activities that cover core prevention topics through our partnership with Vashon Youth and Family Services’ Vashon Kids childcare program.
CARE Club is an inclusive space for youth of all gender identities to learn, share, and explore topics related to kindness, self- and community-care. These core values will provide youth with a strong foundation and supportive environment as they grow and develop their relationships with others and themselves throughout life. We look at topics like supporting our own and others’ feelings, boundaries, identities and community in fun, interactive, and developmentally-appropriate ways.
DOVE Prevention Specialist Collin Veenstra joins Vashon Kids youth participants every Tuesday for programming on how to care for ourselves and others, including a Feelings Check-in, a “Topic of the Week” related to care, and a hands-on activity related to that week’s topic.
For example, youth learned about consent and boundaries at recent CARE Club programming. To practice our skills in asking for permission and respecting others’ boundaries, Collin led the group through a life-size “Consent Land” board game taped across the cafeteria floor one week. Another week, we played “Turtle, May We?” (a play on “Mother, May I?”) with our CARE Club stuffed mascot, Turtle. Participation is optional for all Vashon Kids youth and prizes are awarded to all who join in for the whole CARE Club program.
“Educating on ways to care for ourselves and others is a key way we can address social attitudes and beliefs that contribute to harm. In talking with youth at an early age about how we all deserve respect, whether through our personal boundaries, asking and giving everyday consent, our identities, and beyond, we are helping youth create a foundation they can build healthy and safe relationships with both others and themselves,” said Collin.
CARE Club is a big highlight of the week for our prevention specialist, and we are happy to see a core group of 5-7 youth who participate almost every week, averaging about 8-12 youth each Tuesday.
“When I think about CARE Club I get REALLY REALLY happy!” one six-year-old participant said, adding in some very cool dance moves as they shared their review of the program.
Included here is a CareClub coloring book created by Collin! Print and share!