Photo: Healthy Foundations program launches in Austin, Texas.
Advocacy, art and technology came together at the launch of a new digital program supporting Mary Kay’s Don’t Look Away domestic violence prevention campaign.
The Healthy Foundations program was developed to educate middle school-aged students on building healthy relationships, with an emphasis on how to communicate and resolve conflict. The project is a collaboration among the beauty company, texting helpline loveisrespect, and EverFi, an education technology firm whose investors include Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.
According to Mary Kay’s Kirsten Gappelberg, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Healthy Foundations equips young people to build relationships well, combating dating abuse before it begins. “By teaching effective communication, conflict resolution and how to step in when a friend is being hurt, we can empower youth with the foundations for healthy relationships now and into the future.”
The November launch of the program took place at Martin Middle School in Austin, Texas, where students and educators heard evidence-based strategies for cultivating positive relationships, as well as feedback from a panel of domestic violence experts and advocates, including representatives from Mary Kay, The National Domestic Violence Hotline, loeveisrespect and the Austin Independent School District.
“As educators, we are always thinking of creative and effective ways to prepare our youth for the future,” said Martin Middle School Principal Monica De La Garza-Conness. “Leveraging innovative technology, like the Healthy Foundations Program, allows our students to explore situations that they may encounter, but in a way that is safe, self-guided and interactive.”
Also unveiled during the launch event was a “Don’t Look Away” mural, created by middle school students to depict the day’s theme of healthy relationships. Mary Kay officials said the artwork will remain on display at Martin Middle School.