County Executive Mike Hein Recognizes Winners of Ulster County's 3rd Annual Teen Dating Violence Video Contest

Posted June 12, 2017

Ellenville/Saugerties, N.Y. – County Executive Mike Hein announces and congratulates the winners of Ulster County’s 3rd Annual Teen Dating Violence Video Contest.  The Teen Dating Violence Video Contest Committee was formed as a subcommittee of the Ulster County Inter-Agency Council on Domestic Violence with the goal to raise awareness about the national issue of teen dating violence.  The contest encouraged students to produce creative short informative videos that identified signs of unhealthy or abusive relationships, while including local domestic violence resources.  This year there were three high schools who participated; Ellenville, Saugerties and Kingston. 

Winning first place was a video produced by 12th grade students from Ellenville High School: Dante Langley, Masiah Otero, and Anthony Ramos.  Winning second place was Michael Averill, an 11th grade student at Saugerties High School.  Winning third place was 11th grader Erin Blank, also from Saugerties High School. All three schools had teachers that acted as media coordinators who worked with all of the student participants: Tim Lukaszewski from Ellenville High School, Scott Wickham and Jackie Hayes from Saugerties High School, and Deb Zale from Kingston High School.

The contest winners and participants received certificates from County Executive Hein and the winners also received gift cards from the Teen Dating Violence Video Contest Committee.  Gift cards were made possible thanks to the Ulster County Police Chiefs Association. Ellenville Police Chief Philip Mattracion attended the Ellenville High School event while Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra attended the Saugerties High School recognition.

Michael P. Hein, Ulster County Executive

“I want to congratulate the students on their outstanding videos and thank them, and their dedicated teachers, for helping raise awareness of the national issue of teen dating violence,” said County Executive Hein.  “Unfortunately, statistics show that one of three teens experiences some kind of abuse in their dating relationships.  We hope that these videos will be seen by their peers, helping others recognize the signs of an unhealthy relationship and direct teens to the resources that are available if they find themselves in or observing an abusive situation.  One of the many resources here in Ulster County is our Crime Victims Assistance Program and they can be reached through their 24 hotline number at 845-340-3442.”

Michael Iapoce, Ulster County Commissioner of Social Services and Chair of the Inter-Agency Council on Domestic Violence

"The Council continues to be appreciative and inspired by the response and interest from area High Schools in the Teen Dating Violence Video Contest,” said Michael Iapoce, Ulster County Commissioner of Social Services and Chair of the Inter-Agency Council on Domestic Violence. “This year’s contest demonstrates that students are aware of the need to be informed about and to educate their peers on the subject of teen dating violence by using their creative talents to produce videos that they can relate to. The Council is proud to sponsor this event and appreciates County Executive Hein’s continued support in raising awareness of domestic violence. Congratulations to all of the High School administrators, staff and students that participated in raising awareness about this important issue."

Sarah Kramer-Harrison, Educator at the Ulster County Crime Victims’ Assistance Program, Member of the Inter-Agency Council on Domestic Violence

“Positive partner relations are not always learned in the home.  They can be learned in school, at friends’ houses or from peers; this is the beauty of the Teen Dating Violence Video Contest as it puts teenagers in the role of educator.  With the help of their audio video teachers, students are empowered to speak about how to prevent, notice and advocate for someone who is in an abusive relationship.  When we have an open dialogue about the dangers, signs and resources available to teen dating violence victims’ we create a community support network for youth to reach out to,” said Sarah Kramer-Harrison Educator at the Ulster County Crime Victims’ Assistance Program and Member of the Inter-Agency Council on Domestic Violence. “Thanks to the ongoing support of County Executive Hein, the Inter-Agency Council on Domestic Violence will continue to host this contest highlighting the talents of our High School students.  The response to this year’s contest exceeded our expectations once again.”

Joseph Sinagra, Saugerties Police Chief, Member of the Inter-Agency Council on Domestic Violence

“Without the support of County Executive Hein, this endeavor would not have come to fruition,” said Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra. “We have a County Executive that is not only concerned about domestic violence in the adult population, but is further committed to seeing that teen dating violence is also addressed.  It is through our youth that we can make everlasting changes in the way peer relationships are developed and nurtured absent domestic violence.”

Philip Mattracion, Village of Ellenville Police Chief and Ellenville School Board Member

“I want to thank and commend the Ellenville students for not being silent about the important pressing problem of teen dating violence,” said Village of Ellenville Police Chief Philip Mattracion. “In speaking to the students, I quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: `faith is taking that first step even though you don't see the staircase.´ I also reminded the students that in the final analysis King said, `your life begins to end the first day you stay silent about things that matter.´ I am very proud of the work that the Ellenville students are doing in bringing awareness to the silent epidemic of teen dating violence.”

Lisa A. Wiles, Superintendent of Ellenville Central School District

“We are so very proud of our students and the extraordinary videos they produced,” said Lisa A. Wiles, Superintendent of the Ellenville Central School District. “They’ve helped shine a light on dating violence, a very real danger facing teens today, and their videos may in fact inspire a teen in an abusive relationship to seek help.”

Seth Turner, Superintendent of Saugerties Central School District

“I am very proud of all of our students who participated in creating videos to help raise awareness of the serious issue of teen dating violence.  I am particularly impressed with the second place winner, Michael Averill, and third place winner, Erin Blank,” said Seth Turner, Superintendent of Saugerties Central School District.  “I am pleased we were able to participate for the third year in the County’s contest and I appreciate the continued efforts of County Executive Hein and the Ulster County Inter-Agency on Domestic Violence to raise awareness regarding this important topic. I’d also like to thank Mr. Wickham and Ms. Hayes for including this as part of their Computer Video Production courses.”

Some of the statistics regarding teen dating violence are as follows:

  • Girls and women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rates of intimate partner   violence.
  • 1 in 3 high school girls is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.
  • 1 in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Teens who suffer dating abuse are subject to long-term consequences like alcoholism, eating disorders, promiscuity, thoughts of suicide, and violent behavior.

 You can help a friend or family member in an abusive relationship by:

  • Being supportive and patient, and listening. It’s important that the victim expresses their feelings in a non-judgmental environment.
  • Let them know you are worried about them or that you are concerned for their safety.
  • Provide them with the appropriate information for resources that can help them (hotline numbers are listed below).

Teen Dating Violence and Domestic Violence Resources in Ulster County:

National and State Teen Dating Violence and Domestic Violence Resources:

  • National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 1 -866- 331-9474
  • NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence 1-800-942-6906 (English & Spanish)  http://www.opdv.ny.gov/

The Ulster County Inter-Agency Council on Domestic Violence gathers together organizations that serve domestic violence victims to provide seamless delivery of services throughout Ulster County. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/ucdomesticviolencecouncil. The winning videos from Saugerties High School and Ellenville High School can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcUZ2CmfIOk.

 Photos 1) Participants from Ellenville High School; and 2) Participants from Saugerties High School