Returning Graduate Presents Advice to Teens in Schools about Domestic Violence and Starts Big Project
In a November feature that I had submitted to the Argosy University Blog, I touched upon my journey that led me to graduate from Argosy University’s Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology program in 2014, and then to then transition into to my current program, Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. Even though, in my opinion, the Forensic program was a breeze, the latter became a challenge because I had external obstacles that made my journey a little more difficult. Through my dad’s battle with cancer, I continued to fight on and not let that aspect of my life consume me; even after I lost my father, I chose to let that pain push me to continue my journey to become a Marriage and Family Therapist. I also continued my path to inspire those around me, and here is my current project! …
The E.V.E.R Project (Ending Violence in Every Relationship) started out as an idea that I could not stop thinking about. In my previous feature on the AU Blog, I mentioned that I wanted to work with domestic violence (DV) and rape/sexual assault population; while I was taking trauma counseling class I was able to learn more about DV and teen dating violence (TDV). I started to think of how I can raise awareness about TDV in hopes of preventing future DV relationships; I believe that early exposure and intervention to such sensitive topics would decrease the likelihood of teens engaging in unhealthy/risky/abusive relationships now and in the future. I did not know if this would work out or even if schools would welcome it; I spoke to my former high school teacher and coach, Kimberly Moore, about having this idea of doing school presentations on signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships. She encouraged me to continue with my planning and she would allow me to present to her classes. This validation from a teacher kept me motivated to see this idea through and implement it in schools.
A couple of months after I started developing The E.V.E.R Project my dad was diagnosed with cancer which left me with little time and energy to devote towards the project. I eventually interviewed with my current practicum site, Counseling Partners of Los Angeles (CPLA), that gladly welcomed E.V.E.R and helping me continue my development of the project. After my dad passed away in June 2016, I devoted my time to The E.V.E.R Project; working on the website, social media page, pamphlets, questionnaires, and PowerPoint presentation. August 2016 I started working at Serra High School - Gardena, and eventually presented The E.V.E.R Project to the school consisting of 445 students, ages 13-18. My hopes was to see what the students knew before the presentation and what they learned after; this would involve a pre- and post-questionnaire containing 20 true and false questions. The results for the pre-questionnaire was 5959 correct answers, and the post-questionnaire score was 6514 correct answers which means the entire student body of Serra High School improved by 555 points (9%) after the presentation.
I knew when starting this project, that most of the teenagers would not take this topic seriously, because for the most part they do not think it can happen to them or maybe because it is uncomfortable for them to learn about. I told myself that if I am there presenting this information to them they will most likely take something away from it; the results clearly proved that they did learn something from the presentation which gave me more validation that I am heading down the right path. I hope that the results gathered from these set of students would open more doors for me to present to other high schools within Los Angeles and Orange County. My goal for The E.V.E.R Project is to present this topic to schools throughout Southern California; if I get the opportunity to take The E.V.E.R Project out of not only Southern California, but also across the U.S. I would gladly embark on that journey. I know it would take time to make that happen, but this is a topic that I am passionate about and I am happy to see it make a difference in my students’ lives. I would also like to partner with other DV and TDV organizations to raise awareness in hopes of a better future for our youth.
My journey would not be possible without the love and support from my family, friends, significant other, my professors at Argosy University, Kimberly Moore, and CPLA for encouraging me to make my vision a reality. A special acknowledgment goes out to Serra High School’s beloved Dean, Dwan Hurt, who helped me bring The E.V.E.R Project to life at Serra; he went above and beyond his duties to make sure I had what I needed to present to the school because he also wanted the best for his students. May he rest in peace.
Written by Duyen Nguyen: 2014 MA graduate and current returning graduate student at Argosy University, Los Angeles.
For more information on The E.V.E.R. Project visit:
The information and opinions expressed herein represent the independent opinions and ideas of Duyen Nguyen and do not represent the opinions and ideas of Argosy University.