We believe healthy relationships build the foundation for a student to achieve in school.

Organizations Helping Teens Create Healthy Relationships

National Organizations

Loveisrespect is the ultimate resource to empower youth to prevent and end dating abuse. It is a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Highly-trained advocates offer support, information and advocacy to young people who have questions or concerns about their dating relationships. We also provide information and support to concerned friends and family members, teachers, counselors, service providers and members of law enforcement. Free and confidential phone, live chat and texting services are available 24/7/365.


The Blue Bench, based in Denver, works to eliminate sexual assault and diminish the impact it has on individuals, their loved ones and the community through comprehensive issue advocacy, prevention and care.

Bright Future Foundation's Youth Violence Prevention team is comprised of Mike Santambrogio and Janet Casson. These facilitators work with youth throughout Eagle County, Colorado with the aim of fostering healthy relationships and building leadership skills. Together, they have nearly 30 years of experience leading, coaching and creating with youth of all ages. They are invested in empowering young people to recognize how they can positively impact their lives and the lives of those around them.

The Conflict Center's programs give young people opportunities and a platform for their voices to be heard and the skills to turn conflict into opportunity. They believe in equipping all with the skills to navigate conflict productively whether in classrooms or interpersonally, using the principles of restorative practices. Through their Social Norming program, young people drive the effort of creating campaigns around healthy relationship norms and via Hot Spot Mapping take part in presenting data to school staff around "hot" and "cool" safety areas in and around their schools.

New Mexico

The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (CSVANW), based in Albuquerque, is focused on shaping policy, conducting outreach, increasing awareness, informing priorities and working to ensure that tribal communities are represented within conversations where they have historically been underrepresented. Their grounding in the movement to end violence is not only to organize, but to mobilize our communities towards healthier families and healthier communities. Their youth initiatives include an annual Native Youth Summit, indigenous youth blogs, a Young Indigenous Queer Retreat, community trainings and social media messaging.

YCD Workshops on Healthy Relationships

Below is a sampling of workshops YCD has offered at prior conferences and events on building healthy relationships. Click on any workshop title to read more about the session, the presenter, and reviews from our participants.

Community Building for LGBTQ Youth

Two students smile.

Join mental health counselors Adam-Jon Aparicio and Jessie Charbonneau for an interactive session on the LGBTQ youth experience. We’ll discuss questions about queer youth topics such as coming out/being out, individual queer identity vs group queer identity, dating and friendship, choosing a queer friendly college, mental health in the LGBTQ community, etc. Participants will have the opportunity to talk with their fellow queer peers about mental health and wellness issues that are important to them while building community in the Northern Colorado region.

Deconstructing Identity

Marissa Molina speaks to the audience.

What are the components of your identity?  How does this compare to others, and what can we learn by understanding the different components of our identities?  Join this workshop to explore these questions and more in an interactive format.

Empowering Your Creative Genius Through Poetry and Spoken Word

A student performs a poem on a stage.

It’s no secret that perception is an experience unique to each individual. Perception not only creates our experiences of the world, it often dictates our behavior within our environment. In this interactive spoken word workshop, participants will be given a series of 3-minute writing prompts designed to shut down judgement, increase connection amongst peers, and release the negative stories we tell ourselves that so often hold us back. Facilitators create a fun and safe space for writers and give lots of high-fives and encouragement. A special guest performer will kick off the session, and there will also be chocolate!

Finding Balance in Healthy Relationships and Safe Dating

What are the foundations to create and sustain healthy relationships within your community? This workshop engages directly with youth to have a critical conversation on our connections with our land-base, as well as relations with our peers, culture, and everyday interactions. We will highlight the good and bad energies that come as a result of those interactions, followed by an in-depth discussion on healthy relationships, consent, and types of abuse, with the ultimate goal of community mapping and mobilizing.

Finding Your Voice and Skills for Family Conflict Resolution

Everyone experiences conflict with family members—over who we are, what we believe, and so many other things. Sometimes that conflict grows until it harms or even ends those relationships. It doesn’t have to be that way. We will discuss conflicts that you are experiencing and effective ways to deal with them. We will use small-group discussion and practical tools to help each other address conflict in positive ways.

Healthy Masculinity

Students in discussion.

What does it mean to “be a man” or to “man up”? How did these expectations get created, and are they healthy for us and our relationships? What happens when we don’t meet these expectations? This workshop will explore how young men can work together toward healthy masculinity in their families, schools and communities. Everyone is welcome to attend this workshop, but we encourage men and boys to attend in particular for a dynamic, interactive discussion.

Healthy Masculinity = Healthy Men

Students in discussion.

It’s no secret that the quality of life for many men and boys has declined in the past several decades—from addictions to absent fathers, and failure to launch, to suicide across the lifespan. Dr. Steve Rissman, who has developed a Men’s Health program at MSU Denver, will discuss the roadblocks to healthy manhood, based our society’s “man rules”. He will show how those rules impede physical, social, emotional and psychological health. Finally, as a group we will create solutions for improving health for men/boys. By exploring this important relationship between masculinity norms and health, we can begin to improve the lives of men, boys, and ultimately everyone.

Healthy Relationships 101

The relationships we have with others impact how we feel about ourselves. In this workshop, we will discuss the dynamics that create healthy and secure relationships with family, friends and intimate partners. Through this workshop, you will learn strategies to recognize patterns that are unhealthy and even toxic, and what to do when this happens.

Honest and Compassionate Dialogue with Self and Others

A group of students stand in a circle.

We rely on our dynamic personal history to inform our perception of the world, others, and ourselves. Experiences such as suffering, joy, gender, culture, religion, and so much more distinguish how we learned to be versus how we would rather be in our day-to-day lives and through our interactions with others.  This workshop will provide strategies to help you become a more informed reader of physical signs in others and to become more aware of your own physical and psychological tendencies in order to interact authentically with others.

Hurting vs. Flirting: Do You Know the Difference?

A group of teens discuss.

Sexual harassment is one of the most common forms of bullying in schools. Being aware of what sexual harassment is and what it is not helps us all to have a better understanding of how to handle this sometimes subtle behavior and how to help others when they are in an uncomfortable situation.

Is It a Scary Time for Men?

In October 2018, during the conformation process of a Supreme Court Justice, President Trump commented about the process and stated that it’s a “very scary time for young men in America.” During this workshop, we will interactively dissect this statement by exploring masculinity, privilege, statistics on sexual assault, and intersections of identities. Everyone is welcome to attend this workshop, but we put an emphasis on that we believe all men should attend this workshop. Our hope is by the end of our session you will be able to answer the question on if it is a scary time to be a man in America.

Lessons Learned from Home: You Must Be Carefully Taught to Love or Hate

Alice Wirth leads a discussion of how family impacts our ability to love and hate.

How have the lessons from home, spoken or unspoken, shaped who you are? How has your family affected how you interact with people who are similar and different from you?

This interactive workshop will feature activities, panel discussions, and audience participation. Panelists/audience will share how lessons learned from home affect their everyday life choices and experiences. Basic tools required to become accepting of yourself and others will be provided.

Masculinity Redefined

Students in discussion.

We will discuss the roadblocks to healthy manhood, based our society’s “man rules.” We will show how those rules impede physical, social, emotional and psychological health. Finally, as a group we will create solutions for improving health for men/boys. By exploring this important relationship between masculinity norms and health, we can begin to improve the lives of men, boys, and ultimately everyone.

Men and Women: Breaking down the Stereotypes

Joyce Bignell addresses a room of students.

Despite confrontation, gender stereotypes still remain a heavy influence in culture today through politics, media, sports, and daily interactions. In this workshop students will learn how to confront the stereotypes that play an underlying role in male-female relations.

Mindfulness for Teens

A group of students stand in a line thinking and listening.

We can’t change our biases until we know what they are, and mindfulness can serve as a tool to interact differently with other people, especially across social differences.

We will start out talking about what mindfulness is, its roots in Eastern/Buddhist philosophy, and how it can be used not only for self-care, but to minimize implicit bias and create cultural inclusion. We will interactively discuss each of these topics, ask participants to bring their whole selves into the room (not just their intellects) to mindfully check in to their own bodies as they consider their own biases and embodied reactions to stereotypes, and offer solutions and strategies for culturally inclusive behavior.

My Ethics versus Your Values

Effley Brooks addresses a room.

This interactive workshop will challenge students to explore their ethics and values that have been formed throughout their lives. They will face ethical dilemmas and practice communication techniques when faced with different thinking. There will be laughter!

Navigating Healthy Relationships: It’s Complicated

A student smiles as the group around him navigates a human knot.

Teen dating is hard. Texting, social media, and navigating the school environment make romantic relationships really hard. What are healthy and unhealthy qualities in a relationship? How do I kindly and respectfully break up with someone? This workshop will discuss what to look for in a healthy relationship and how to communicate better with your partner.

Preventing Sexual Violence and Supporting Survivors

A student smiles in a group.

This session will explore the power youth have to create spaces where sexually inappropriate or violent behaviors are recognized, and intervention occurs to support survivors. We will use small group activities and discussion to expand recognition of a range of sexually violent behaviors and the impacts of these behaviors, the systems in place to address these behaviors, and identify how youth have opportunities to intervene at all points as positive bystanders. Youth will practice bystander intervention using real life scenarios commonly described by high school students. Youth presenters will encourage participants to think creatively and develop a broad variety of intervention techniques, honoring personalities, identity, and safety. Presenters will create a safe space to facilitate honest, non-judgmental conversations throughout the session.

Self-Love + Body Positivity

We will have a realistic and informative discussion around body image and body positivity for teens and adults. Participants will explore the impact body image has on self-esteem, examine how external factors such as media trends shape how we see ourselves and build awareness to how these trends shape unrealistic expectations. Give yourself permission to drop societal expectations and learn to relate to your body with kindness, improve your self-image, and develop sustainable, positive self-care behaviors with practical wellness tools that promote confidence and self-love.

Social Groups and Stereotypes

Paula Brown speaks

This colorful interactive session is designed to create awareness of how subtle beliefs and behaviors can affect social interactions in everyday life.  This workshop will evoke thought and reflection about social group membership and how stereotypes and attitudes can influence behavior.

Stress 101: Stay Calm and Carry On

A group of Latinx students sits on the stairs and smiles.

Stress—it’s something teens deal with every day, and it doesn’t go away when we become adults. From the pressure of getting good grades in school to dealing with difficult times in our families, it helps to have tools that help us stay calm in the midst of chaos. Participants in this workshop will generate discussion about this topic and gain insight from shared experience. We will also learn hands-on strategies to take better care of ourselves on a daily basis so that when life gets tough, we can get through it and carry on.

Telling Your Story

Students smile at the camera.

Join the City of Denver’s Chief Storyteller for a session on how to craft and tell stories in a captivating way.  We’ll explore how we can all use storytelling to find our voice, express our identity and share our passion for positive social change.

The Instagram Effect

A group of students listens intently.

Together, we will explore the ways that Instagram affects high school aged girls (14-19 years old) and their developing body image. During this workshop, two current students will provide insight on the effect Instagram has on them. Additionally, The Instagram Effect will provide tools and techniques to utilize social media in positive ways to resist harmful messages, foster healthy self-esteem, and encourage body positivity in young girls.

The Intersection of Religion, Family and Sexuality

Amber Cantorna speaks with Rev. Amanda Henderson, the Executive Director of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado

YCD and the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado presented a workshop exploring the intersection of religion, family and sexuality. We heard from author Amber Cantorna, the daughter of an executive at Focus on the Family and who came out as a lesbian at age 27, about her experience reconciling her sexuality and spirituality, and then had a dynamic group discussion through Q&A.

The Many Faces of Privilege

A group of teachers put post-it notes on the wall.

During this session participants will generate a common understanding of privilege, and the many ways it impacts our lives. We will discuss multiple ways in which we all have some privilege, and which privileges have the most impact in our lives. Finally, we will consider what it might mean to give up some privilege we have.

The Power of Space

We will discuss and share the process of creating our own mental health clinic at the Las Montanas Charter High School in Las Cruces—everything from why it is important to have a space where students feel safe and can relax, to the importance of mental health awareness. We will also give tips and recommendations of coping mechanisms as well as advice on how to help friends that may be going through a difficult time.

Understanding Culture through Communication

A teen male and female sit on the floor talking.

How do we bridge cultural divides and what communication strategies help us connect and relate to those who are different from us?  In this interactive workshop, participants will explore the link between culture and communication.

Understanding Internal, External and Social Diversity

A group of students.

Diversity is more complicated than it seems.  In this workshop we will explore internal diversity (those things we can’t change, such as age, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation), external diversity (those things that may change over time such as income, spiritual beliefs and education) and social diversity (those things that may change due to the social groups we associate with at various times in our lives.) After participating in activities to recognize these various aspects of diversity, we will examine the impact they may  have on our diversity of thought and how we can use this knowledge to solve problems.

Using Kindness to Create Community

Two students smile.

How do you bring your community together? How do you create opportunities to talk to one another? Learn how you can inspire relationships through Kindness Clubs challenges and activities. Experience the 1,000 Thank Yous CHALLENGE, the Community Gratitude Tree, the We All Have a Voice! DREAM Wall. Participants will personally experience each activity. They will learn the step-by-step process to use each to connect and celebrate the diverse voices in their own community.

You Too? Questions and Discussion about #MeToo

A group of teens discuss.

Participants will explore common questions, misunderstandings, and the on-going conversation around the #MeToo movement. What is sexual harassment? How does it show up in your lives? How did our culture get here and where do we want to go now?