ORANGE PARK – A junior at St. Johns Country Day School believes it’s never too early to impress the importance of developing healthy relationships.
Her work helped the private school receive a certification as a Hero School by the One Love Foundation – the organization’s highest commendation – in recognition of its commitment to healthy relationship education through a combination of educational reach, student leadership, and ongoing awareness-building activities.
“When you look at the statistics, it’s really daunting to see how many teenagers are affected it,” Allison Korahais said. “The easiest way to address it is by starting early so you don’t fall into that pattern of an unhealthy relationship. That’s why I wanted to get something going in high school.”
Korahais founded the One Love program at St. Johns. It’s a group that stresses the importance of identifying the behaviors and attitudes that can affect a relationship, including domestic violence, peer pressure and bullying.
“They fall under the same umbrella,” she said.
According to Korahais, unhealthy behavior, both physical and emotional, has been ignored for too long.
“A lot of people ignore it, or it’s too sensitive to talk about,” she said.
The school’s club is dedicated to opening more discussions about identifying troubling signs.
One Love is a non-profit organization and national leader providing relationship health education to students across the country. Through compelling workshops and peer-to-peer discussions, One Love programs open young people’s eyes to healthy versus unhealthy behaviors and offers a framework we can use to discuss these behaviors in our own lives.
“Our Hero schools are showing the impact that deep engagement around the topic of healthy relationships can have on a school community,” said Chief Program Officer Megan Shackleton. “It is our honor to recognize their commitment and we are proud to continue to support these schools in their efforts to create healthier and safer communities.”
St. Johns is only one of nine Hero-certified schools in the country, and the only one in Florida.
“One Love is important to me because we work to promote healthy relationships among teens and young adults,” Korahais said. “Our One Love Club helps inform our students about what comprises a healthy relationship, the importance of healthy boundaries, and the warning signs of unhealthy relationships.”
The key to a healthy relationship is “maintaining trust and being honest with a person,” Korahais said.
“St. Johns is proud to be able to teach our students the fundamental tools for building healthy relationships and helping them become leaders for community-wide change,” said acting Head of School Mary Virginia Fisher. “This work is part of our commitment to help parents raise responsible, capable adults who will not only survive but thrive now and in their lives ahead.”