GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A local nonprofit is looking to educate parents and teens about potentially abusive and violent behavior when it comes to teen relationships.

“Teen dating violence is a lot more prevalent than parents or teens realize,” said Gina Boscarino, a group specialist at Wedgwood Christian Services.

Wedgwood is a local group that helps teens navigate abusive relationships and heal from the aftermath.

“1 in 3 teens experience dating violence,” said Boscarino. “It’s pretty widespread.”

Teen dating violence can take place in person, online, or through technology. Boscarino says parents and friends of someone being abused should look for subtle warning signs.

“Look for signs that things are out of the norm. Changes in appearance, grades — even sleeping patterns”, said Boscarino. “It’s important that they have someone to talk to.”

Wedgwood points to the work being done through an initiative called “Teen CHARGE,” which stands for Teens Choosing Action and Reaching their Generation. Teen CHARGE is a student leadership program that empowers teens to promote positive messaging surrounding mental health, substance use and healthy relationships. The group is comprised of middle school and high school students from all over the Kent County area.

Teen CHARGE members also help create content, from blog entries to videos, that address these challenges and encourage other teens to make healthy decisions.

“Teen CHARGE members are committed to helping out other teens. We focus on substance abuse, healthy relation and mental health. Our Teen CHARGE participants help create content which helps set themselves up for success and also gives them the confidence to empower others,” said Boscarino.

For more on the teen charge program and how to get involved, contact Wedgwood Christian Services or