About Us

Young Leaders Against Violence (YLAV) is a local youth-led coalition focused on dating and sexual abuse awareness and prevention. The group is made up of high school and college students from Kent County that share a common interest in eliminating violence from our community. The group meets twice a month to organize events, social media campaigns, movie screenings and meetings with community leaders. YLAV is mentored by the leadership of three local agencies: Safe Haven Ministries, Cherry Health and the Kent County Health Department.

For inquiries about YLAV or for partnership opportunities, please email stopviolencegrteens@gmail.com. Registration is open for the 2018 school year. We accept applications on a rolling basis so don’t wait to apply. For more information please see the section below.


The group meets twice a month to brainstorm and implement various outreach projects ranging from grant writing to school displays and social media campaigns.

Some of the activities and campaigns YLAV has organized over the last year include designing sexual assault awareness coffee sleeves that were used at Lantern Coffee Bar and Lounge during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, as well as a screening of the Hunting Ground followed by a facilitated discussion at Celebration! Cinema.

YLAV is mentored by the leadership of four local agencies: Safe Haven Ministries, Family Futures, the Kent County Health Department, and YWCA West Central Michigan.

YLAV is now accepting applications.

Young Leaders Against Violence (YLAV) is a local youth-led coalition focused on dating and sexual abuse awareness and prevention. The group is made up of exceptional students from Kent County universities, high schools, and middle schools all with a common interest in eliminating violence from our communities.

NO MORE Week of Action 2018 is March 4-10!



April 11, 2017

Don’t miss our screening of Audrie & Daisy!

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (#SAAM), we are proud to bring a screening of the powerful documentary Audrie & Daisy to town.  This urgent real-life drama examines the ripple effects on families, friends, schools and communities when two young women find that sexual assault crimes against them have been caught on camera. This event is FREE and open to the public. Doors open at 5:30pm, and the film will screen at 6:00pm. Concessions will be […]
February 9, 2017

I Can and Will Make a Difference

By Sam Boyce The Women’s March on Lansing was a beautiful experience. I had never been to a protest or rally of any sort before, and I’m so glad that this was the first rally I ever attended. The positive atmosphere and feeling of hope that wafted through the air was incredibly heartening in this time of great fear. With all of the changes that are being enacted that are putting human rights at risk, […]
February 3, 2017

YLAV Marches on Lansing!

On Saturday, January 21, millions came together for the Women’s March on Washington and sister marches throughout the country – and world. (We see you, Antartica march.) Those millions included us in YLAV! We headed to the sister march in Lansing, MI for a day of raising our voices with a few staff from our mentor organizations. The day was very inspiring and we learned a lot about how to speak up and speak out. After […]
August 12, 2016

“You Learn What Sparks You”

As the school year wound down last year, a few YLAVers decided to share why this experience mattered to them. We figured now is a great time to share those videos, as we are looking for our next great group of students for the 2016-17 school year! (Application available here.) So, straight from their mouths. Here’s why being part of YLAV is awesome: “You learn so much, about yourself and what you’re passionate about. … […]


Hotlines & Resources

Although domestic violence has seen a decline in recent years, there are still millions — millions — of Americans who endure it each year, whether it’s sexual, physical, or emotional in nature.

At the same time as victimization rates are decreasing, domestic violence shelters report more people asking for help. These signs are encouraging, but there is still a lot to do and many people in need of support.

Most people know someone that is abusive or is being abused. Here are some resources to keep informed and know how to help.

Sexual Assault and Abuse

Signs You May Be in an Abusive Relationship

It's Time to Acknowledge Male Victims of Domestic Violence

What to Say When You Suspect Someone is Being Abused

Sexual Abuse of the Elderly

How to Recognize Trauma in Children

Abused Children & Addiction: The Guide to Untangling, Reconnecting, and Building New Futures

Creating a Safety Plan

Safe & Responsible Use of Electronic Devices

The comic is for middle and high school age youth. Topic is safe and responsible use of electronic devices – no nudes! Dealing with street harassment – report it! Example of good communication in a relationship – talk about stuff you're not sure about!

Ink & Syrup Comic

Love is Respect National Dating Abuse Hotline

All calls and chats are anonymous and confidential. You can call (866) 331-9474.


Highly-trained peer advocates offer support, information and advocacy to young people who have questions or concerns about their dating relationships. We also provide information and support to concerned friends and family members, teachers, counselors, service providers and members of law enforcement. Free and confidential phone, live chat and texting services are available 24/7/365.
Chat at


Text loveis to 22522*
Call (866) 331-9474, (866) 331-8453 TTY)

That’s Not Cool


Your cell phone, IM, and social media networks are all part of you. When someone disrespects, harasses, or pressures you that’s not cool! Not sure if a situation is abusive or not? This site offers education and advice on how to handle these situations.

February 2017 Teen Dating Abuse Prevention Month "Love is Sweet" Campaign

1 in 3 teens in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence - almost triple the national average.

In 2010, the percentage of violence perpetrated by strangers and non-strangers varied by the victim’s sex. Females knew their offenders in 64% of violent crimes against them, and males knew their offenders in 40% of violent crimes against them.

Teens in violent relationships are often victims of the pattern of violence in future relationships. Physically abused teens are 3 times more likely than their non-abused peers to experience violence during college.

1 in 10 girls age 13-16 report they have sent posted nude or semi-nude photos or videos of themselves online. Girls age 17 and older the percentage increased to 1 in 5. Overall, 37% of teen girls report they have sent or posted sexually suggestive texts or emails.

In the U.S., on average, 3 women are murdered every day by their current or former intimate partner.

In the U.S, from 2009 – 2012, 40% of mass shootings - those with 4 or more victims killed - started with the shooter targeting his girlfriend, wife or ex-wife.

YWCA West Central Michigan

25 Sheldon Blvd.
SE Grand Rapids, MI 49503


Domestic Violence Crisis Services & Emergency Shelter (no cost & confidential)

24-hour crisis hotline (616) 451-2744 / TTY
(616) 233-4718

Safe Haven Ministries

3501 Lake Eastbrook Blvd.
Suite 335
Grand Rapids, MI 49546


Domestic Violence Crisis Services & Emergency Shelter (no cost & confidential)
24-hour crisis hotline (616) 452-6664

YWCA West Central Michigan

25 Sheldon Blvd. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program (No cost services are for adults & children)

To arrange for an appointment 24-hours a day, call (616) 776-RAPE, (616) 776-7273, your local police, or 911.

The YWCA provides comprehensive, timely, and sensitive medical-forensic examinations. Receiving immediate and follow-up medical attention is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself if you have been sexually assaulted. You may have injuries that need to be treated, and you may want to address and receive treatment for the possibility of pregnancy and contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network


National 24-HoursTelephone Hotline Call (800) 656-HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
How can the hotline help me?

Calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline gives you access to a range of free services including:

• Confidential, judgment-free support from a trained staff member.

• Support finding a local health facility that is trained to care for survivors of sexual assault and offers services like sexual assault forensic exams.

• Someone to help you talk through what happened.

• Local resources that can assist with your next steps toward healing and recovery.

• Referrals for long term support in your area.

• Information about the laws in your area.

• Basic information about medical concerns.

April 2017 Sexual Assault Awareness Month Proclamation made by the Kent County Board of Commissioners

Believe Survivors Change the Culture Poster

YLAV Presentation to Kent County Board of Commissioners: