In order to tap into the attention of middle schoolers, we knew we’d have to tap into a trend that they were already captivated by, whether it was a TV show or a band—we just had to find the right one. When the Twilight movie series premiered, it immediately captured the attention of seemingly every teen in America. Even though the series deals with many fictional themes, it also touches on some very real issues, like loss of control and violence in relationships.
So, we organized a special screening each time a movie in the series was released. In advance of the screenings, our youth organized an initiative called “Eclipse: Campaign for the Third Choice,” which urged their peers not to limit their choices in relationships in the same unhealthy way that Twilight characters do. Those same youth facilitated discussions about choices and other relationship themes raised by the movies at each screening event. Local organizations we already had relationships with, like the local health department, St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital and the American Academy of Pediatrics (Idaho Chapter), also set up tables at the events with resources related to dating violence. Over 2,000 teens showed up at one of our screening events!