VOTE for us on IDeal4aCause!

San Diego! Please VOTE and then spread the word to your colleagues, friends, and supporters in San Diego! TeenNow California is partnering with IDeal4aCause, which is a Groupon-like business that helps local non-profits earn money. We earn money for every VOTE we get from San Diego from now until March 2nd. After the vote we will get to be a featured charity for a deal on the website and earn even more money! This money goes towards our scholarship program for pregnant and parenting teens and teen leaders. VOTE HERE!!!

TeenNow California Poster Contest!

TeenNow California is pleased to announce our statewide Sexual Health Poster Contest! The poster contest  is intended to engage teens in creative dialogue about sexuality, healthy relationships, and positive goals.
Teens: Make a poster. Tell us what being sexually healthy means to you. Pick one topic or many. Does it mean you talk to your partner about STDs and HIV? Does it mean you don’t have sex? Does it mean you accept your own sexual orientation? Does it mean you speak up when you see relationship violence? Does it mean you use birth control?  We want to know what it means to YOU. Be creative!
Topic: What does being sexually healthy mean to you?
Judging: Posters will be judged on creativity, accuracy, and sexually healthy messages in line with TeenNow California’s mission. Please see rules and regulations below.
Prizes: Top 3 winners and the runners up will have their poster featured in a 2013 calendar. Top 3 winners will also get prizes:
1st Place: $100 gift card
2nd Place: $50 gift card
3rd Place: $25 gift card
Contest Dates:
February 8-March 30, 2012
All posters must be submitted via email, mail, or fax by March 30.
By Email:
By Mail: TeenNow California, Poster Contest, 3468 Citrus St. Suite F. Lemon Grove, CA 91945
By Fax: 619-741-9643
Rules and Regulations
  • Submissions must be emailed, faxed, or postmarked by March 30, 2012.
  • Participants must be between 12 and 19 years old by submission deadline.
  • Poster size limitation: 8.5″ by 11″
  • Poster may contain hand drawn images, computer graphics, words, poetry, mixed media collages, and photographs. Please do not send music CDs or videos with your poster submission.
  • Posters containing violent messages or profanity will be disqualified.
  • Email submissions must be in PDF, JPG, BMP, Microsoft Office Document, or Adobe Document format.
  • Please include contact information along with poster (on the back of the poster, in the email, in the fax, in the envelope…anywhere, just include it please). TeenNow members: if you are sponsoring an entry, include your own contact info as well.
  • Participants agree to allow submissions to be used for promotional purposes for TeenNow California.

Member Special: For every teen sponsored, members receive $5 off next due membership fee. Join today to qualify. Membership not required, but highly encouraged, for contest participation.


Drawing Attention to the Urgency of Teen Dating Violence Prevention

Drawing Attention to the Urgency of Teen Dating Violence Prevention

by Lisa Fujie Parks, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence

Five days before Cindi Santana was stabbed to death at South East High School in South Gate, California in December 2011, her ex-boyfriend, Abraham Lopez, was arrested for making a criminal threat against her. Santana’s mother notified South East High School when Lopez was released on bail, and campus security was informed of the potential threat. Yet three days later, Cindi was stabbed multiple times during lunch, allegedly by Lopez. Cindi’s death was a tragic wakeup call to all families, schools and communities in California to strengthen school and community responses to teen dating violence, also known as dating abuse.


February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAPM) – a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in youth relationships and mobilize communities to support young people in having safe and healthy relationships. Sadly, just as the month began, Myrna Umanzor, 15, a teen mom from San Leandro, California was murdered, allegedly by her 19 year old boyfriend, who took his own life the next day.


We mourn the tragic loss of life in South Gate, San Leandro, and other communities throughout the country, as we join with thousands working to engage youth and reach new audiences through Proclamations, educational events, media outreach, and other efforts. Although we cannot accomplish all of our strategic goals in one short month, these focused efforts will help elevate community understanding of the issues and solutions.


What is dating abuse?

Dating abuse is the use of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, or technological abuse by a person to harm, threaten, intimidate, or control a dating partner, regardless of whether that relationship is continuing or has concluded, or the number of interactions between the individuals involved. One in four adolescents reports verbal, emotional, physical or sexual dating violence each year. 15-40% of youth report perpetrating violence toward a dating partner. Adolescents and young adults experience the highest degree of intimate violence of any age group, and young women ages 16-24 are most likely to be victimized. Among these women, pregnant and parenting teen mothers are especially vulnerable.


Dating abuse is associated with a host of adverse outcomes, including truancy, use of alcohol and drugs, eating disorders, depression and suicide. A substantial number of incidents occur on school campuses, threatening the safety of students and staff, distracting students from learning, and compromising the school climate. Yet, the distinctive aspects of dating abuse make it one of the most overlooked forms of violence. Many young victims do not recognize warning signs and confuse controlling behaviors as a sign of care. Fear and shame discourage victims from seeking help, and when they do, adults often minimize the potential for harm, unaware of the danger of increasing frequency and severity of abuse over time, and the heightened risk for physical violence during or after a break up.


Offering age-appropriate support

Young people who are being abused or being abusive, may not identify their experience as “abuse.” Conversations can be focused on the right to have boundaries respected and to be free from control. And conversely, it’s important to model and teach how emotions and conflict can be addressed while respecting boundaries and the right to a partner’s autonomy. When speaking with teens, it’s important to assure confidentiality, be non-judgmental and empathetic, apply harm reduction principles, and have current information for referral agencies and community resources on hand. And remember, during and after a break-up is the most dangerous time when the likelihood of physical violence increases.


What you can do during TDVAPM

Please use this month as an opportunity to build your knowledge, strengthen partnerships and help draw attention to dating abuse:


  • Spread the word! Sample Facebook posts and Twitter tweets can be found at
  • Build your knowledge! Online professional learning opportunities during the month of February can be found here. Additional resources can be found on the Healthy Teen Network website.
  • Link to Black History Month! African American youth are overrepresented as victims of dating abuse. Honor Black History Month and TDVAPM and support our back youth in February and beyond!
  • Educate and engage teens and parents! Useful websites with resources and curriculum can be found at
  • Strengthen partnerships! Year round, we encourage teen pregnancy prevention programs to partner with local domestic violence programs and adolescent health and mental health providers, youth, parents, educators and other stakeholders.
  • Stay Connected! Sign up for the Partnership’s Prevention Digest to stay abreast of teen dating violence prevention projects, resources and opportunities in California.


The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence’s Prevention Program advances effective teen dating violence prevention policies and programs through leadership, advocacy and a statewide network of prevention advocates dedicated to promoting healthy relationships and preventing teen dating violence. For more information about the Partnership’s efforts to address dating abuse, please contact Lisa Fujie Parks at or 916-444-7163 x117.


Finally, if you know of a teen or parent that could benefit from speaking to a caring, well-trained peer advocate, please connect them with the National Dating Abuse Helpline, a  project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, at 866-331-9474 (TTY: 1-866-331-8453), by texting “loveis” to 77054, or through live chat at