Van Buren Co. speaker hopes to inspire safe dating in teens

VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Van Buren County mother has dedicated her career to educating students through motivational speaking.

Now she's hoping some new training will teach teens how to date safe, by encouraging them to ask permission first.

Amy Foster, with the Domestic Violence Coalition, provides the free services to schools in Van Buren County, and has for years.

Foster has no trouble engaging a room of teens at Hartford High School, even when it comes to touchy subjects.

The violence educator has reached 35,000 students in the last 4 years in Van Buren County, on topics from bullying to sexual assault.

She says that it's been different with dating, until now.

"I want to draw the audience in as a motivational speaker, and I was feeling like with the topic, I was pushing them away," she said.

Foster is one of 24 nationwide recently certified to present the program "Can I Kiss You," to students.

The program is geared toward cutting down sexual assault in teens by teaching them to ask first.

She says that putting kids in control using role playing in her presentation makes them less likely to push away from her message, which is proven to reduce unhealthy relationships at an early age.

Foster will launch the new program next school year, after spending the summer memorizing a 45-minute monologue.

She says right now, three high schools are on board, and she expects to give these presentations 3-to-4 times per month.
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