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By Barbara Anderson/The Hesperian-Beacon—
Pablo Morales, a 16-year-old from Lockney, has been selected to serve a second term on the Young Hearts Matter Leadership Board.
The board is a youth-focused division of the state’s biggest domestic violence coalition, the Texas Council on Family Violence.
The Young Hearts Matter program was started with the intent to engage youth and teens to raise awareness of prevention of abusive relationships, especially among youth.
Morales, a Lockney High School junior, spent the last year spreading awareness and advocating against teen dating violence around his community and at the state’s capitol in Austin.
Teen dating violence affects an estimated 11 percent of young women and 7.5 percent of young men, according to a news release from Shaelyn Stone, Account Executive of Sunset Communications Public Relations.
Collaborating with youth across Texas, he plans and executes events and campaigns that educates young adults about healthy relationships.
“Last year, he even traveled to the Capitol Building to host an open discussion with youth and advocate for support from legislators,” according to the news release.
The board is made up of one youth participant from every region. Morales represents Region 1, which includes 43 counts from Yoakum to Kent to King and Cottle and everything above up to the Oklahoma border.
“This Leadership Board gives me the opportunity to learn, get experience and open doors for a future in psychology where I can help more people,” Morales said.
Young people in Texas between the ages of 15-19 that are interested in joining the Young Hearts Matter Youth Leadership Board are encouraged to apply. Email the Prevention Team at [email protected]
Morales is involved in pretty much every sport known to high schoolers. Pablo is active on the Student Council, is a class officer, a coach for the Lockney Little League and is a leader in the Giant Slayer Youth Ministry in addition to serving on the Young Hearts Matter Leadership Board.
In the few free moments Pablo finds in his schedule, he loves playing video games with his friends and being a protective big brother to his sister, who is a freshman.
Morales is the son of Hector and Melinda Morales.
Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year, according to loveisrespect.org. And TCFV found that from 2017-2019, 19 individuals between the ages of 14 and 19 were killed by their partner in Texas. Last year alone, five youths were killed in intimate partner violence crimes, all murders involving firearms.