Teen PeaceWorks sponsors show on dating violence

Wilton High School’s Teen PeaceWorks club will kick off its October events with a one-woman show about dating violence called The Yellow Dress, in the Wilton Library Brubeck Room on Thursday, Sept. 29.

Peaceworks’ October events include a purple ribbon-hanging to reflect the number of domestic violence incidents in Wilton, a bake sale at the Village Market, its annual Open House Fundraiser and “hopefully, a spin class fund-raiser and town proclamation,” said Jennifer McNamara, president of the Wilton Domestic Violence Task Force.

PeaceWorks is a prevention education project of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center (DVCC) that provides school programs focused on peaceful conflict resolution, recognizing and maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships, and recognizing and reducing aggression, antisocial behavior, bullying, harassment and intolerance.

Created by Massachusetts-based Deana’s Educational Theater, which specializes in performance pieces about serious social issues, The Yellow Dress tells the story of a young woman’s relationship that begins as young, passionate, promising love and ends in tragedy.

The show is designed to stimulate “thought-provoking discussion about relationships,” according to the theater company’s website, and help the audience:

  • Recognize the early warning signs of dating violence.

  • Understand the cycle of relationship and dating violence.

  • Access and utilize community and school resources.

  • Learn how to help friends and family members who are victims or violators.

Given the statistics on dating violence and sexual violence at colleges, McNamara said, PeaceWorks members would “especially like to have an audience of high school seniors to help inform them of the warning signs, because we believe with utmost certainty that knowledge is power.”

“The better informed they are before they leave for college, the more empowered they will be,” she said.

McNamara said PeaceWorks members are “doing everything they can to entice their peers to come out on a Thursday night to see the show” and “speaking to faculty to see if they will give extra credits to students who attend.”

Wilton High School seniors and PeaceWorks Presidents Kaitlin McNamara and Kaitlin Zappaterrini said they are “very much looking forward to” the performance.

The girls attended a performance of The Yellow Dress at Wilton Library as eighth graders.

“We were so moved by the performance, it inspired us to join the Teen PeaceWorks club at the high school the following year,” said Kaitlin M.

“I hope this year's performance inspires another generation of Teen PeaceWorks members to help keep the club going after we leave.”

Kaitlin Z. said The Yellow Dress performance years ago was “a very moving experience” and the majority of the attendees were adults.

“This sparked our desire to put on the show for high school students because we feel as though it is vital for young students to be aware of teen dating and domestic violence before they go off to college,” she said.

The one-hour performance will begin at 7 p.m., and admission is free. There will also be a raffle and a DVCC representative at the event to answer questions.

PeaceWorks members paid for The Yellow Dress performance with money raised from bake sales over the last three years and will be selling raffle tickets at the Village Market on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 3 to 7.

Click here to learn more about PeaceWorks.