Domestic violence, bullying and other forms of abuse are serious matters in today’s world. To raise awareness about these types of abuse, Margaret’s Place at Venice High School created an after-school program called Peer Leadership two years ago, around Nov. 2015, and plans on continuing the program as long as possible.
The program was founded by Joe Torre. Torre grew up in a home with domestic violence and always wished he had someone to talk about what happened with him at home. As a form of awareness, he created Margaret’s Place in honor of his mother, Margaret, who was also a victim of domestic violence.
Peer Leadership is for anyone who experiences any type of abuse, wants to help with the campaigning against domestic violence or wants to teach students different ways they can receive support. In other words, it’s a safe space that’s open for anyone and everyone at Venice High who needs it.
Jimmy Higa, the sponsor of Peer Leadership, is planning a week-long campaign on how to speak up against domestic violence on the last week of October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Over the past couple of months, Peer Leadership has had such a high interest from students that Margaret’s Place provided another therapist, Lindsay Varis.
“Things like domestic violence can really impact a way a student learns,” said Higa.
There are currently four Margaret’s Place sites on local school campuses including Venice High, Marina del Rey Middle, John Adams Middle and the Boys and Girls Club at Mar Vista Gardens. At the end of 2017, Margaret’s Place plans on opening up their fifth site at Washington Prep. New York, New Jersey and Cincinnati, Ohio also have Margaret’s Place programs.
Peer Leadership meets every Tuesday after school for 1 ½ hours in Room 210B, upstairs in the East Building.