Respect Works: Group raises teen violence awareness at Darien/New Canaan hockey game

Emma Cavioli and Katie Elders, co-presidents of Respect Works, handed out towels and educational materials about Teen Violence Awareness at last week’s Darien/New Canaan hockey game. — Lily Genovese photo

Respect Works is a club run through the Darien Depot Teen Center that focuses on raising awareness for teen domestic abuse and dating violence. Co-presidents Katie Elders and Emma Cavoli set up a table at the entrance of the rivalry New Canaan-Darien hockey game on Wednesday, Jan. 30 to hand out flyers and small towels with domestic abuse facts on them.

The towels were then used for cheering purpose during the course of the game. They also accepted donations.

They chose this date in recognition of Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, which began Feb. 1.

The club is run by Elders and Cavoli, and they hope to bring in more members this year.

Emma Cavoli, Co-president, said, “Respect Works is a club run through the Darien Depot, and we are partners with the Darien Domestic Abuse Council. We are here to raise money to end teen dating violence.”

The fundraiser was a major success, as they raised $233 and definitely spread the word.

The club is overseen by both Janice Marzano, program director of the Depot Teen Center, and Darien Police Sgt. Alison Hudyma, who serves as domestic violence liaison for the Darien Police Department.

Marzano said “I am so proud of these girls and boys for their dedication to promoting awareness and their determination with getting the word out on teen domestic abuse. They have put so much time into what they do and they worked so hard to spread the word and to share what they have learned through the Darien Domestic Abuse Council.”

Hudyma, a mentor and advisor said, “Respect Works hopes to accomplish a group out of Darien High School that is partnered with the DDAC in raising awareness for domestic violence in Darien.”

The club will soon be passed on to be run by two upcoming seniors as both Cavoli and Elders are graduating in June.

The students and teammates loved the spread of awareness at the game as well. The towels made for great rally props, and many students went home with an informative flyer.

Hudson Pokorny, senior captain of the boys hockey team was in full support of the fund raiser.

“I think that having the event at our game was a huge benefit to both the cause and the atmosphere of the game,” he said.  

“Domestic violence is a serious issue and to hand out the rally towels with the domestic violence facts was a great way to have the fans stay pumped up and also learn the truth about something that affects a lot of people,” he said.

Darien came in with a victory in an intense overtime playoff. The ending score was 4-3. Senior, Blake Swiggett scored the game winning goal for Darien. The student section threw the towels with excitement as the buzzer rang.

For more info on Respect Works, visit dariendepot.com.