(Secaucus, NJ––May 10, 2021) Leah Garcia, teen ambassador for the non-profit One Love, visited Capitol Hill recently to advocate for the value of teaching young people about healthy relationships, announced Ms. Kathy Young, Principal of High Tech High School.
As teen ambassador, Leah traveled to Washington, DC, in late April with approximately forty other young adults and teens from throughout the US. Their goal: to spread a message of love through knowledge of healthy and unhealthy relationships. At the US Capitol building, Leah and her peers met with various Senators and Representatives in small, private meetings before speaking on the House floor. Members of the advocacy group shared stories surrounding the dangers of abusive and toxic relationships and how the work of relationship education brings awareness and empowerment to young people. Among the lawmakers with whom they spoke was VT Senator, and former Democratic Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders.
Ms. Garcia first encountered the organization OneLove while doing some soul-searching during the early part of the pandemic. She says of that time, “I felt compelled to do more and be a part of something greater than myself. After doing research, I really resonated with the mission statement of OneLove and decided to take a Summer Leadership Workshop and training. What ultimately spurred me to join was the empowerment I felt after being equipped with the tools to differentiate between a healthy and unhealthy relationship.”
In fact, the program was so powerful, that Ms. Garcia went on to create her own non-profit, ConsentUS, which she says, “aids in educating the youth on Consent and eradicating the stigma around conversations of consent, sexual abuse and bodily autonomy.”
Leah, who has earned a full scholarship to Lincoln University in California, plans to start a OneLove chapter at the school next fall where she hopes to build the connection between ConsentUs and OneLove to expand awareness of both issues. Notably, Leah will also make Lincoln University history as a member of the first women’s soccer team at the college.
OneLove was founded as a response to the tragic death of Yeardley Love, a women’s lacrosse player at the University of Virginia, who was killed by her abusive boyfriend in 2010. Following her death, friends and family vowed to teach young people—from kindergarten through college—about relationship health and how to recognize unhealthy relationships. Through its interactive curriculum, One Love has reached over 1.8 million people via in-person workshops and over 100 million through their digital content. You can learn more about OneLove and their work by visiting www.joinonelove.org. You can learn more about Leah’s group, ConsentUs by visiting https://www.consentus.info/.