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THE AHA! “RELATIONSHIP SKILLS” program for teens hits it out of the park

Sabrina says ” Why don’t they teach this in school since it is the most important thing in our lives?

” MaryLee says ” I don’t know what I would do without the support of this group”

Brenda said “I was scared to walk in my own neighborhood until the group helped me find my voice and power”

AHA! has been running “RELATIONSHIP SKILLS’ groups for young women( and also another for young men) for years based on a curriculum originally designed by Dr. Jennifer Freed, and continually modified by the AHA! staff and teens to fit the times and needs of each group.

This last year AHA! received a research grant by the Susan Crown Exchange to study the effectiveness of the female teen group on the following domains: Emotion Management, Empathy, Problem Solving, Responsibility, Initiative, and Teamwork. The statistical results of the year long study by the Weikart Center were conclusive- AHA! has a winning program in terms of imparting these lifelong skills; skills that are statistically linked to success in school and the workforce, and overall wellbeing.


During one of the weekly sessions about assertiveness in relationship a young woman age 14 described how she had been sexually assaulted by a store owner right near her house that week. The group supported her to file a charge with the police and seek justice. This led to a passionate sharing about how most of the young women felt scared and unprepared to deal with the fears and realities about unwanted verbal and physical attention from others. They wanted to do something about it!

The group decided to support the victim and themselves by taking a special weekend Model MUGGING course in Self Defense with AHA! facilitators for emotional support. The young women emerged from that course empowered with physical self defense skills. They learned how to stand together for their rights, use their voices to encourage each other, say NO when they needed to, and to get help when needed.

Each week the young women address subjects critical to their social and emotional health in their lives.

AHA! runs these young women RELATIONSHIP SKILLS groups after school and always has a waiting list for the groups. Currently there are 34 young women enrolled.

Kelli says “This is what we should be learning. This group is what life is really about”

Find it out more here:

AHA! joins fellow youth organizations to launch a national social and emotional learning guide January 25th

2016 based on best proven practices.

Contact Dr. Jennifer Freed

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