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NEBRASKA CITY, NEB. – It is estimated that 3-4 million children in the United States witness domestic violence in their homes each year. These children are more likely to show anxiety, low self-esteem or temperament problems than children who do not witness violence in the home.
Research shows that nature can help with negative life stress on children and help them deal with adversity going forward. Being in nature also helps reduce or eliminate anti-social behavior which is common in children who have witnessed abuse.
In response to this issue, Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay FoundationSM partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to build 20 Nature Explore classrooms at domestic violence shelters across the U.S. in an effort to bring nature into the daily lives of children affected by abuse. The multi-year initiative is the largest corporate collaboration for the Nature Explore Classroom program and provides children a safe and supportive space to explore, learn and heal as they recover from the effects of witnessing abuse.
Nature Explore is a collaborative program of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation designed to introduce nature in the daily lives and learning of children. Along with the outdoor area, each Nature Explore Classroom includes a multi-faceted curriculum with details on how to fully maximize the educational opportunities and healing effects of the outdoor environment.
“Mary Kay’s hope in partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation to bring Nature Explore classrooms into domestic violence shelters is that children might have a safe, quiet and fun place to learn, play and heal as they recover from the effects of abuse,” said Crayton Webb, Director of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility for Mary Kay Inc. “We are deeply committed to preventing and ending domestic violence while also supporting programs like Nature Explore that are providing support to those in need.”
Nature Explore Classrooms are often constructed in areas where children have regular access to schools, parks and child care centers. However, children living in domestic violence shelters do not have access to these public spaces because their safety could be jeopardized.
“Collaborating with Mary Kay to bring Nature Explore Classrooms to domestic violence shelters has deepened the impact of these outdoor research-based spaces,” said John Rosenow, Chief Executive for the Arbor Day Foundation. “Nature Explore classrooms provide a connection to nature that helps children overcome tragedy and trauma with play and purpose.”
Mary Kay built and dedicated its first five Nature Explore Classrooms in 2009 in Texas, California, Georgia, New Jersey and Illinois. Four more classrooms followed in 2010 in Massachusetts, Illinois, California and Colorado with an additional four in 2011 built in Georgia, New York (2) and Texas. The final seven are set for completion before the end of 2013 in Pennsylvania, California, Florida (2), Indiana, Utah and Nevada providing a total of 20 Mary Kay funded Nature Explore Classrooms in 13 states.
Earlier this year Mary Kay Inc. released the fifth annual Truth About Abuse Survey which anonymously surveyed executive directors of more than 800 domestic violence shelters. Sixty four percent of shelters reported an increase in women with children seeking assistance from their shelter as a result of domestic violence.
As one shelter director said, “the Nature Explore Classroom has always been a place where our mothers and children can find peace. Families fleeing domestic violence find the outdoor space to be a calm refuse as they engage in the healing process and begin to rebuild their lives.”
About Mary Kay
Irresistible products. Positive community impact. Rewarding opportunity. For 50 years, Mary Kay has offered it all. With 3 million Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants and $3 billion in global annual wholesale sales, Mary Kay is a top beauty brand and direct seller in more than 35 markets around the world. To learn more or to locate a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant in your area, please visit marykay.com.
About The Mary Kay FoundationSM
The Mary Kay Foundationsm was created in 1996, and its mission is two-fold: to fund research of cancers affecting women and to help prevent domestic violence while raising awareness of the issue. Since the Foundation’s inception, it has awarded nearly $34 million to shelters and programs addressing domestic violence prevention and more than $20 million to cancer researchers and related causes throughout the United States. To learn more about The Mary Kay Foundationsm, visit www.marykayfoundation.org or call 1-877-MKCARES (652-2737).
About Arbor Day Foundation
Arbor Day Foundation is a million member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information is available at arborday.org.