Izamar and Mariza Mandujano, seniors at West Ottawa High School who are participants in the Hope College TRIO Upward Bound program, both had poster designs chosen for use in a national effort to prevent dating violence.

The Greenfield, Wis.-based Date Safe Project Inc. had provided students involved in the Holland-area TPDV (Teens Preventing Dating Violence) program the opportunity to submit message ideas for Date Safe's poster series in April of this year.  The posters based on the twin sisters' concepts are now among the 17 designs that the project makes available as part of its suite of resources.

The sisters developed the posters' slogans, with the Date Safe Project Inc. rendering the ideas into graphic form, illustrated with photographs of teens.  Izamar's slogan reads "Pressure + Control + WRONG / Respect + Friendship = LOVE / How's your math?"  Mariza's slogan reads "2B or not 2B brave enough to speak out against dating violence."

The sisters have participated in Hope College TRIO Upward Bound since their freshman year in high school.  They have been participants in TPDV since the program began in 2009 as a collaborative effort of Hope College TRIO Upward Bound and DELTA Project of Ottawa County.

DELTA (Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancements and Leadership Through Alliances) Project is a primary prevention program of Center for Women in Transition and Lakeshore Alliance Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and dedicated to working with teens and adults to prevent dating violence and domestic violence. DELTA Project and Hope's Upward Bound program began collaborating in the winter of 2009, with DELTA Project coordinator Lesley Coghill leading a six-week Teens Preventing Dating Violence for 18 of the Upward Bound students that summer.  Many of the students chose to continue the program by participating in a year-round group, which they named TPDV.

"I am excited that Izamar and Mariza's ideas were selected for the poster campaign. They, along with several other Upward Bound students, have been actively working within TPDV to spread the word about dating violence prevention," said Elizabeth Colburn, director of Hope College TRIO Upward Bound.  "The collaboration with the Delta Project, along with Lesley's strong leadership, has given the Upward Bound students a voice and an opportunity to learn and grow through their involvement in TPDV."

Hope College Upward Bound, which began in 1968, is funded through the TRIO program of the U.S. Department of Education.  The Hope Upward Bound program serves 80 high school students from the Holland, West Ottawa and Fennville school districts during both the school year (afternoons and some weekends) and the summer.  The program seeks to generate the skills and motivation necessary for success in education beyond high school from among students from low-income and first-generation families who have the potential to pursue a college education but may lack adequate preparation or support.  The goal of the program is to increase the academic performance and motivational levels of eligible students so that they may complete secondary schooling and successfully pursue post-secondary educational programs.

More information about the Date Safe Project Inc. is available online at www.datesafeproject.org.  More about the DELTA Project is available at http://delta.aplaceforwomen.org.