Relationship and communication skills take center stage

The Diversity Center recently partnered with Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette and YWCA Clark County to bring a series of workshops to campus called Where We Build. The Where We Build series took place over the month of February and covered building healthy relationships within the community, between partners and within the individual.

The workshops were led by Austin Lea, a representative from Planned Parenthood, and Ariella Frishberg, a representative from the YWCA. Both speakers reach out to their communities to spread awareness and offer tools people can use to make positive decisions in their personal relationships and have access to resources to help maintain their health. “What I realized is that we don’t teach young people what violence looks like or how to advocate for themselves until after something happens to them or someone they love,” Frishberg said. “I became passionate about finding ways to bring this education to students before it happens, and devoted much of my academic studies in college to finding a way to turn that into a career.”

The workshops provided a private, personal space for attendees to share their experiences. “The Where We Build Workshop series has very much validated my prior education and personal experiences,” student Stefani Mammenga said. “This series has helped me develop my language and skills to facilitate further discussion about these truly important issues.” Mammenga looks forward to helping others learn more about the lessons she learned in these workshops.

The first workshop, called “Healthy Relationship Skills,” covered topics such as messages in the media regarding sex, stigmas, relationships, communication skills and consent. The second workshop, “Impacts of Power and Control,” covered the topics of abusive relationships, refusal skills and personal boundaries and negotiations. The third workshop, “Sexual and Reproductive Health,” dealt with reproductive empowerment and sexual health. The fourth workshop, “Overcoming Barriers and Accessing Care,” covered the topics of barriers to reproductive and sexual health services, becoming a self-advocate and the elements of reproductive and sexual identity. The fifth workshop, “Bystander Intervention,” covered the topics of intervening in situations of abuse, what to do when experiencing or witnessing abuse and how to help someone who exhibits abusive behavior.

Participants who attended all five of the workshops were eligible to apply for internships and volunteer opportunities at Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette and YWCA Clark County.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the YWCA will be hosting several events throughout the month at YWCA Clark County. Students can follow the YWCA social media accounts to receive updates on ways to participate.

For more information about Planned Parenthood and YWCA, visit:





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