Help Save the Next Girl hosts safety summit

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Motivated by the death of her own child, one local mom is trying to Help Save the Next Girl. More than 50 students learned about issues like substance abuse to online safety at a safety summit hosted by the organization.

Montgomery County students file into the auditorium for the Help Save the Next Girl Safety Summit. And for student's like Inessa Cooper, it's been inspiring to be a part of a club that brings awareness to topics like dating violence.

"But really heavy at the same time, because something terrible happened but something really amazingly beautiful has come out of it," Cooper, a Christiansburg High School senior, said.

Help Save the Next Girl was founded by the mother of Morgan Harrington, a young woman who was abducted and murdered in 2009. Gil Harrington's goal is to educate people about predatory danger and violence prevention.

"Young teenagers are getting up to learn how to protect themselves and one another I am thrilled to see the interest and just the success of the event," Harrington said.

The organization has over 50 chapters, and people from the community agree that prevention programs like this is key.

"If there is a need we need to address it, kind of selfish on my part. I don't want to have to do the report for kids being hurt, and if there is anyway I can detour it. I'm going to do it," Deputy Underwood of Montgomery County said.

And this deputy hopes presentations like the one from Trey Gregory can give students the tools they need.

"We try to show women how to approach a situation, not become an opponent, but to minimize an attack and get away to safety," Trey Gregory of Domestic Abuse Disruption, Inc. said.

"We've done a lot of work, there's lots more to do, but to see all these bright young faces here today, it's a heck of a good start," Harrington said.

And as a graduating senior, Cooper hopes to start a chapter at her college next year.

"I just think it is an important concept that needs to be spread out through the world, it's just one step at a time," Cooper said.