Students write domestic violence survivors: 'Remain strong'

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To show support for survivors of domestic violence a group of students from Assata High School wrote letters to local organizations – including the Sojourner Truth House. 

The start of a letter that is meant to inspire and offer empathy…

"Dear Domestic Violence Survivor, I know things may be hard for you right now but I’m writing to remind you, you should never give up and remain strong. You’re stronger than you appear to be," said the start of one letter. 

The letters come from students at Assata High School. It was part of a social-emotional project aimed at positively increasing self-esteem. 

"Ask you to write down the negative aspects of you, you can give me a laundry list. But if I ask you to write down the positive attributes, people struggle. We’re trying to change that ratio to where you have more things about yourself positively that you know than negatively," said Timika Isabell, Administrator, Assata High School. 

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After identifying positive attributes about themselves, students put their positivity to paper, writing to survivors of domestic violence. 

"If you were in this situation or if you had a family member facing this dilemma or having this hardship, what are some words or how would you use your affirmations to inspire them," said Isabell. 

The letters are stamped and mailed to multiple organizations, including the Sojourner Truth House. 

"I started opening the letters and I was just so surprised and grateful for the messages of hope that the letters delivered," said Carmen Pitre, Soujourner President & CEO. 

The words leave an impact on those who read them. 

"For us to be joined in this work by young people is just an incredible gift, I am grateful for the teacher and I’m grateful for the class," said Pitre. 

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And for those who wrote them…

"Once they were receiving the feedback and the ‘thank yous’ and to know it really was meaningful, I think for them the smiles, the pride," said Isabell. "Just the mindset that they know that their voice matters. The work that they set out to do like this was purposeful."

Assata High School hopes to continue the social-emotional project next year. 

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