On June 29, one day before the end of the City’s fiscal year, the Center Against Domestic Violence found out that the Teen Relationship Abuse Prevention Program – RAPP – had been saved by the New York City Council.  The Center thanks the New York City Council for championing our cause.

In January, the Center was dismayed to find that the Mayor’s preliminary budget did not include funding for RAPP.  RAPP is a $3,000,000 citywide program that serves students in 5 middle schools and 57 high schools. The Center Against Domestic Violence helped originate RAPP and is the largest provider of this, the nation’s largest primary prevention program.  RAPP is celebrating 10 years of helping young people make healthy life choices.

Since 1999, RAPP has taught generations of New Yorkers how to have healthy relationships, how to recognize abuse and how to help themselves and friends who may be in dangerous relationships.  If we could not save RAPP, current and future generations of New York City youth would not receive the information and support they need to break the cycles of domestic and dating violence.

Center Against Domestic Violence and the three other organizations who together provide RAPP services to more than 50,000 culturally and ethnically diverse New York City students, banded together to save RAPP.  Representatives of our organizations visited every City Council Member.  Current and past RAPP peer leaders collected thousands of signatures and support letters and came out to rallies to support RAPP.  RAPP graduates, now young adults, testified before the City Council about how RAPP had saved them and changed their lives.  The public response was tremendous.

We are grateful restoration of funds to RAPP.  The continuation of this program will prevent violence and save young lives.  At a time when teens are surrounded by images of violence, it is crucial for them to find an alternative.  RAPP gives them that alternative, with the tools to communicate, build self esteem and plan for the future.