The majority of the members of the Interval House: The Second Generation youth program grew up in homes devastated by domestic violence. This diverse group of teens, The Second Generation, struggled and overcame the likelihood of becoming abusers and victims of violence themselves. Fleeing to Interval House with their mothers as terrified four or five-year-olds, they have grown into passionate teens, with the power to utilize their traumatic past to educate and steer future generations from violence. The inspiration and driving force to their completely volunteer-run youth program has been the hope that other youth may not experience the struggles they were once forced to face.
This program has expanded since the beginning of Interval House in 1979. Using their own memories and experiences, Second Generation youth have developed a curriculum involving personal stories and dramatic skits capturing the minds of any audience.
In addition to providing their heart-grabbing presentations to numerous forums, all youth involved in this program also volunteer their time as mentors and peer counselors. As state-certified domestic violence advocates, they are available on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (in over 30 different languages) on their own teen-hotline. They are also available to do one-on-one peer counseling with youth who are at-risk or are encountering relationship violence.
These young people have crossed the line of understanding of their own background and joined hands to learn about the different cultures that they all come from and to appreciate and tolerate their differences and commonalities. They have cried together, laughed together and shared individual strengths with one another. They have instilled a sense of hope of a future with less violence.
“By beginning relationship violence prevention early with teens and providing resources to children who may feel helpless in violent homes, Second Generation teens are truly proving that even the most difficult challenges can end in triumph,” remarked Monsignor Ernest Gualderon, Principal, Saint Anthony High School and Priest, Saint Anthony Church.