A spotlight profile by BaLeigh Harper for Power Up, Speak Out! and DSVS
Power Up, Speak Out!, the education program of DSVS, was launched in 2010 to teach healthy equitable, violence-free relationship skills to youth. A free, state-wide resource, Power Up, Speak Out! is successful thanks to the help of dedicated volunteers. We are so excited about the work these individuals do – and fortunately for us, The Local Rag is excited too. They’ve agreed to help us shine a spotlight on these outstanding individuals and the work we do here at DSVS. And we can’t help but brag about Libby Brighton-Johnson.
Libby is a woman of many talents: educator, advocate, mother, friend, mentor, fashion designer, crafter, and gourmet chef are all hats that she wears easily, and in her case, stylishly. For the past four years, she has worked as the special education teacher at Red Lodge High School, helping Power Up, Speak Out! expand from a series of lessons to an important part of the school’s culture.
At Power Up, Speak Out! we teach that in a healthy relationship, you should get to be yourself, treat others well, be able to say no, and have fun! Middle school counselor Tonya Kosorok (another outstanding volunteer) teaches this motto to her students every year. Libby ensures that the message follows students through high school, weaving Power Up, Speak Out! into various classes and advising the Youth Encouraging Self-Expression (YES!) Club, a student group that strives to create an inclusive school environment for all.
When asked why she is so active in Power Up, Speak Out!, Libby responded, “Because this information doesn’t just apply to health: healthy relationships are the foundation for everything we do.”
Libby is not only a volunteer for our education program, she also is an active DSVS volunteer advocate, taking our 24-hour crisis helpline and helping provide direct services to those affected by violence. When we asked Libby what she thought the community as a whole could do to prevent violence, she said, “There isn’t anything you can do better than educate people. Healthy relationships education should be fully accessible to all people. Because who are we without our relationships?”
To learn more about Power Up, Speak Out!, like us on Facebook or check out our website at www.powerupspeakout.org. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please call the 24-hour DSVS helpline at 406-425-2222.