Kevin Faulk and Matthew Slater of the New England Patriots visited East Boston High School on Friday (Dec. 9) to lead Training Camps for Life - a partnership of the National Football League Players Association, A CALL TO MEN and the Verizon Foundation - to educate students about teen relationship violence.
The half-day, NFL-star-studded event addressed topics such as overcoming adversity, decisions and consequences, and healthy teen relationships - a critical addition to the Training Camps for Life agenda.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four adolescents is physically, emotionally, mentally or sexually abused by a significant other each year.
Faulk and Slater led 400 East Boston High School students in taking the LIVERESPECT pledge (www.liverespect.org), a commitment to end teen relationship violence and speak out against domestic violence. They were joined by retired Patriot and East Boston High School alumnus Jermaine Wiggins and retired Washington Redskin Pete Kendall, a football standout at Boston College.
Across the country, more than 3,000 teens have taken the pledge to date.
"I was proud to join my fellow teammates in taking the LIVERESPECT pledge," said Slater. "It is a meaningful way to demonstrate respect for yourself, your girlfriend or boyfriend, and it's also a great way for parents to start a conversation about healthy relationships with their kids."
Ted Bunch, co-founder of A CALL TO MEN, said: "NFL players from New York to Green Bay to New Orleans and here in Boston have rallied around this cause, helping teens understand why it's important to commit themselves to healthy, respectful relationships. Their positive influence lays an important foundation for us to dive deeper into the cultural influences that shape teen relationships."
Through the Training Camps for Life program, the Verizon Foundation funds A CALL TO MEN program to provide participating schools with a healthy relationships curriculum designed specifically for teens. The in-class curriculum aims to:
- Help teens heal from past abuse.
- Improve equality and respect in relationships.
- Increase safety on school campuses.
- Promote youth leadership in violence prevention.
"The Verizon Foundation commends schools like East Boston High School for their leadership in addressing this critical social issue," said Donna Cupelo, region president of Verizon New England. "Through the healthy relationships curriculum, teens will learn nuances of abuse and know how to respond if confronted by violence or abuse."
Partnering with the NFL Players Association on the Training Camps for Life program is part of the Verizon Foundation's strategy to engage men and teens in helping end domestic violence.
George Atallah, assistant executive director of external affairs for the NFL Players Association, said, "Through Training Camps for Life, our NFL players educate teens about overcoming adversity, decisions and consequences, having a plan for your life, and the importance of respect and nonviolence."
The Training Camps for Life program will run throughout 2012.
The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention. Verizon supports survivors of domestic violence through the Verizon HopeLine® program. Through HopeLine, no-longer-used wireless phones are collected and recycled or refurbished to support domestic violence survivors. Since 2001, more than 8 million wireless phones have been collected, and more than $10 million in cash grants have been awarded to domestic violence agencies and organizations throughout the country. Verizon has invested more than $28 million in domestic violence prevention. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.
About NFL Players Association
The National Football League Players Association is a professional association under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code. The objectives of the Association are: to improve the business conditions of professional football players in the National Football League, including enhancing, protecting and defending their right to contract by attacking, legally challenging and\or eliminating any limitations or restrictions on the right to freely contract for services as professional football players; to create opportunities for players to enhance off-the-field income during their playing careers and after their retirement from football; and, to enable and encourage players to engage in charitable and civic activities to benefit their communities.
About A CALL TO MEN
A CALL TO MEN is a leading national men's organization addressing domestic and sexual violence prevention and the promotion of healthy manhood. For more information, visit www.acalltomen.org.