We read about violence every day, and it’s easy to convince ourselves that it’s not our problem — that it takes place in other communities and other parts of the world.
But consider these two acts of violence.
On February 23, 2006, a Roseburg High School student shot a fellow student just as class was beginning. And on March 24 here in a Bend neighborhood, a 15-year-old shot a fellow teen because of an ongoing fight.
Why is all this happening? Many theories are used to explain the rise of teen violence and aggressive behavior. Some say violent video games are to blame; others say it’s TV. Some point to drugs and the lack of gun control; still others say the decline of family values plays an even bigger role.
Regardless of the cause, it’s crucial to realize that teen violence is increasing and it can happen just about anywhere. Take the Bend shooting as an example. That didn’t happen in school; it happened down the street. It could have just as easily happened in the park, or in the mall. It’s also important to realize that if you happened to be an innocent bystander, — or a loved one — also could become a victim of this violence.
We are working on this problem right now. Winning Over Anger & Violence is a nonprofit organization that provides professional counseling to men, women and adolescents to resolve interpersonal violence, anger and destructive behaviors. Currently Winning is running teen counseling groups in schools throughout Central Oregon. We also sponsor court-mandated counseling and private counseling for adults. We are addressing the problem now.
Winning is managed by a volunteer board, and more than 95 percent of our funding goes directly to support our programs and services. Winning helps make our community a better place in which to live, work and grow.