The Indianapolis Colts, through a partnership with the Verizon Foundation and the NFL Players Association, have joined in efforts to encourage young men in Indiana to end teen relationship violence.
The Colts are the eighth NFL team to encourage teens to take the LIVERESPECT pledge through Verizon's Training Camps for Life. Colts players Gary Brackett and David Caldwell spoke at a Super Bowl Training Camps for Life event on Tuesday (Jan. 31) at Ben Davis High School in Wayne Township. The players addressed topics including overcoming adversity, decisions and consequences, and healthy teen relationships.
The 900 students attending the event were encouraged to "take the pledge" by committing to four steps, including treating people with dignity at all times and speaking out about violence. 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.
"The LIVERESPECT pledge is a great way for teens to hold themselves as well as others to a higher standard of respectful living," said Caldwell, a safety for the Colts. "By holding themselves to this standard at a young age, they are more likely to have healthy relationships as they grow older."
Ted Bunch, co-founder of A CALL TO MEN, leading national men's organization addressing domestic and sexual violence prevention and the promotion of healthy manhood, said: "Teens are an exceptionally vulnerable group, bombarded with media, advertising and other cultural influences that reinforce disrespect. At Training Camps for Life, we help teens to break these things down so they can respect themselves and others, and reduce teen relationship violence."
Through Training Camps for Life, 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.
"Our intent with this program is to educate teens about the nuances of abuse and know how to respond if confronted by violence or abuse," said John Granby, president - Indiana/Kentucky/Michigan Region, Verizon Wireless. "Indiana's shelters are overwhelmed now, and abuse statistics are increasing due to our current economic climate. With the help of NFL players, we are reaching teens so they don't repeat the cycle of violence."
Partnering with the on the Training Camps for Life program is part of the Verizon Foundation's strategy to engage men in helping end domestic violence.
"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," said George Atallah, assistant executive director of external affairs for the NFL Players Association.
The Verizon Foundation helps people to live healthy, safe and independent lives by addressing disparities in education, health care and sustainability. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon's employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.2 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.
For more information about the LIVERESPECT pledge, visit www.liverespect.org.
About NFL Players Association
The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) is a nonprofit, professional sports union that protects the best interests and welfare of all NFL players. It serves as the exclusive bargaining agent for all NFL players in collective bargaining. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players' interests. The NFLPA is governed by a Board of Player Representatives, acting in accordance with the NFLPA Constitution and federal labor laws. The NFLPA's responsibilities include: Representing all players in matters concerning wages, hours and working conditions and protecting their rights as professional football players; ensuring that the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement are met; negotiating and monitoring retirement and insurance benefits; providing other member services and activities; providing assistance to charitable and community organizations; enhancing and defending the image of players and their profession, on and off the field. For more information, visit www.NFLPlayers.com.
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.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with nearly 109 million total connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 194,000. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.