Our Annual Golf & Tennis Classic was featured on News 12 Westchester.
Joe Torre is the 2021 Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award Honoree.
Read the full press release from ESPN , and tune in on July 24 at 2 p.m. ET on ABC to watch the award ceremony.
The seventh annual Sports Humanitarian Awards were awarded tonight at The Rooftop at Pier 17, located within the Seaport in New York City. The event, hosted by actor and author Taye Diggs, will air as a 90-minute television special on Saturday, July 24, at 2 p.m. ET on ABC.
This year’s winners include (see below for descriptions on each award):
- Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award Presented by Dove Men+Care: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Kansas City Chiefs
- Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year: Atlanta Dream
- Corporate Community Impact Award: Microsoft
- Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award: Adom Appiah, Tory Bailey, Gabriel Banuelos, Jacob Eusebio, Amani Shah, Holly Wilson
- Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award Sponsored by Bristol Myers Squibb: Joe Torre; Frank Kipp, Blackfeet Boxing; Tom Walter & Kevin Jordan, Get In the Game
- Sports Philanthropist of the Year Award: Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United
- League Humanitarian Leadership Award: NBA
In addition to Russell Wilson previously being named one of Marvel’s Earth’s Mightiest Athletes, UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou, United States Women’s National Team soccer star and two-time World Cup Champion Julie Ertz and the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell also were announced as part of the collective.
As part of the Sports Humanitarian Awards ESPN will donate more than $1 million in charitable contributions on behalf of the award nominees and honorees. To date, more than $12 million has been donated to the community on behalf of the Awards. The Awards and sponsorships benefited the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at the V Foundation for Cancer Research once again, which supports minority scientists and researchers working to improve outcomes for minorities who are disproportionately affected by cancer.
MUHAMMAD ALI SPORTS HUMANITARIAN AWARD PRESENTED BY DOVE MEN+CARE
The Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award is given to an athlete whose continuous, demonstrated leadership and care has created a measured positive impact on their community through sports.
Less than three months after winning Super Bowl LIV, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif — the Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Lineman who also is a Medical School Graduate — began fighting COVID-19 on the front lines at a long-term care facility in Quebec, Canada. His conviction to combat a virus the world knew very little about at the onset of the pandemic risked his own personal health and football career. Duvernay-Tardif was the first NFL player to opt out of playing in the 2020 season due to COVID-19, and did so to follow a calling to help medical professionals and give an extra hand to help care for some of the most vulnerable. He worked for eight months as an orderly and properly administered appropriate drug dosages, fed, washed and dressed each patient. The offensive lineman also served on the NFLPA’s COVID-19 task force, where he helped examine different scenarios for the safest measures to put in place when football games returned. Along with playing football and working in healthcare, the Super Bowl Champion created the Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Foundation with his longtime girlfriend, Florence, to ensure both physical activity and creativity are a part of a child’s development and educational success.
SPORTS HUMANITARIAN TEAM OF THE YEAR
The Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year represents a sports team that demonstrates how teamwork can create a measurable impact on a community or cause.
Following George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent protests, the Atlanta Dream’s previous owner and Georgia Senate Candidate denounced the WNBA’s public support of the Black Lives Matter movement, undermining her own players and their beliefs, and forcing them to take a position in direct opposition of their employer. Rather than stay silent, they bravely spoke truth to power, and along with WNBA peers, shined a light on the important issues of racial justice and voter suppression. Then, shockwaves were felt across the political and sports world when, on a nationally televised game, the Dream players wore “Vote Warnock” t-shirts, publicly endorsing the owner’s opponent in the Georgia Senate election. The support of the WNBA and the Dream catalyzed the opponent’s candidacy and led to his Senate victory. In a full circle moment, the Dream made history again when former Dream All-Star Renee Montgomery became the first former WNBA player to become both an owner and senior executive. The Atlanta Dream was named in honor of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, and what these women accomplished for civil rights and social justice embodies Dr. King’s “Dream” of a more equitable America.
CORPORATE COMMUNITY IMPACT AWARD
The Corporate Community Impact Award recognizes a corporation that utilizes their business platform and the power of sports to help advance a social issue, cause or community organization.
The abrupt onset of the COVID-19 pandemic created many challenges, including loneliness and isolation, which was especially felt by those with intellectual disabilities (ID). According to recent data released in March from Jefferson Health, people with ID were 2.5 times more likely to contract COVID-19, were about 2.7 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital and almost 6 times more likely to die from the infection than the general population. As a long standing partner of Special Olympics, Microsoft recognized that meaningful engagement was desperately needed as in-person events were cancelled, and launched the 2020 Special Olympics Xbox Virtual Gaming Event featuring Forza Motorsport 7 to bring athletes together virtually to connect and compete. The event was livestreamed on Xbox, YouTube, Twitch and Mixer, and engaged athletes from 11 state Special Olympics Programs garnering more than 118,000 views from cheering fans. The event showcased a custom-skinned Special Olympics race car and the first-ever Special Olympics award ceremony stadium in Minecraft that was gifted to Special Olympics for future events. This event showcased the positive impacts of gaming by creating meaningful connections, while spreading the message of inclusion to a global audience by celebrating people of all abilities.
BILLIE JEAN KING YOUTH LEADERSHIP AWARD
The Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award celebrates and honors youth who are using the power of sport as a catalyst for change and making a positive impact on society.
At the age of 12, Adom Appiah started a school project to improve the Spartanburg, South Carolina community, as it faces systemic issues including health disparities, racial inequities and lack of support for after-school programs. The project propelled Appiah to launch his nonprofit, Ball4Good, which uses the power of sports to address social issues in his hometown. Since its inception, Appiah has raised over $100,000 to support 20 local nonprofits, and he has organized local events and food drives, while also supporting Martin Luther King, Jr. Day basketball camps. In addition to fundraising, Appiah’s goal for Ball4Good is to encourage kids to support their community by volunteering and provide grants for organizations addressing local issues, all through the power of sports. Appiah has created a committed youth group and involves them in making impactful decisions for their community, as they help select grant recipients and provide younger kids with volunteer opportunities. When the global pandemic presented countless, unforeseen obstacles, Appiah and his team quickly adapted to engage remotely with their community, and raised over $20,000 to support organizations impacted by COVID-19. Before heading to college in 2022, Appiah hopes to raise an additional $100,000 to sustain Ball4Good’s future.
After not being able to play tennis in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) as an independent player because of California’s current rules and regulations for both charter and home school students, Tory Bailey recognized the inequities and began working with the Pete Brown Junior Tennis Program (PBJTP) to develop a community tennis program for non-traditional high school players. Currently, charter and home school students in California can only join their school district’s public school tennis teams upon the team’s coach granting them permission to be a part of the team, creating an inequitable opportunity for kids to compete in the sport. With PBJTP, Bailey created a community plan that proposes a change to CIF’s current entry process policy to play tennis for students in the Southern Los Angeles Unified School District, charter and private schools and homeschooling programs. Bailey believes tennis will open the door of equal opportunity for inner-city students who come from low-income environments, and is fighting for a community tennis program that will allow for these non-traditional high school players to compete in CIF’s tennis season and playoffs. Tory will be attending Howard University this fall as a scholar athlete playing on the men’s tennis team.
As a son of an immigrant and single mother in the Watts area of South Los Angeles, Gabriel Banuelos, grew up in an environment filled with high poverty, guns, drugs and gang violence, which ultimately prevented kids like him from playing outside. Banuelos recognized that children from the projects needed safe places to play, and he decided to take action by approaching the Los Angeles Police Department about creating a safe environment for youth to play soccer outside once a week. This led to a collaboration with LAPD’s Police Athletic League (PAL) program and Nick’s Kids was born to not only provide youth a safe place to play, but to also allow kids to interact with police and alleviate their fears of law enforcement. Today, over 30 kids meet several times a week at a supervised park to play soccer, have fun and are allowed to simply enjoy being a kid. The program also offers academic tutoring to encourage and motivate students to maintain their grades, as well as provide mentorships, encouragement and reinforces important morals and values to help them envision a better future and become productive young adults. Gabriel will be attending UCLA in the fall.
Growing up with an autistic brother, Jacob Eusebio always understood the disparities people with intellectual disabilities face as they navigate their daily lives, along with the challenges of finding inclusive programs for them to participate in. For Eusebio, it was difficult to find his brother adaptive group tennis lessons, so he created Serving Advantage to make tennis accessible to children with developmental disabilities, while allowing high school tennis players to coach and interact with the kids, no matter their ability. By partnering with local organizations, Eusebio saw a 450% increase in student participation, with 99% of the kids having no prior tennis experience. The Doubles Partners volunteer program creates a two-way street where students with disabilities connect with peers in a safe environment, and partners are taught how to be empathetic and understanding of their differences. The program started with 14 Doubles Partners from five local high schools and has grown to 40 Doubles Partners from 16 different Southern California high schools. Serving Advantage also has started a scholarship program to bring tennis to special needs families in underserved communities. Eusebio hopes to create a judgment-free space where special needs and general communities create lifelong friendships that transcend tennis.
As a young tennis player in Southern California, Amani Shah has realized the incredible benefits the sport provides her, while also recognizing within her community the huge gap in diversity, inclusion and access to the game that exists, largely due to the financial costs to participate. To address these disparities, Shah and her sister founded Second Serve — a fully youth run nonprofit organization — in 2019 with the goal to give tennis equipment a second chance by collecting gently used and excess tennis equipment, and redistributing it to underserved youth around the world to help kids gain access to the sport. Shah’s leadership has led to Second Serve growing its team to include over 70 Second Serve Presidents between the ages of 13 and 17 across the country. Her organization also partnered with local nonprofits to donate equipment in underserved communities across 23 states, as well as internationally across 11 different countries, including Uganda, India, Nigeria and Argentina. By sourcing equipment for these organizations, Second Serve is fueling youth involvement in tennis and giving more kids the opportunity to use sport to change their lives. Since its inception, Second Serve has collected and donated more than 10,000 pieces of equipment.
Holly Wilson’s passion for helping her community is deeply rooted in her interest in public health, and while a student at the University of Maryland she expanded her love for her studies into community involvement by coaching and mentoring through the sport of soccer with L.A.C.E.S. (Life and Change Experienced thru Sport). L.A.C.E.S. leverages the power of sport to mentor youth and empower local communities, while fostering life-skills and leadership development in the lives of the hundreds of at-risk youth, refugees and street children they serve. Wilson helps them by working with refugee youth in the Prince George’s County Riverdale community, and has enabled recently resettled youth as a mentor and coach and ambassador. Despite facing language barriers, as many of these youth do not speak English, Wilson uses soccer to build relationships with them and their families to ensure they feel supported and welcomed within their communities. On behalf of L.A.C.E.S., Holly developed and implemented a city-wide soccer festival that brought refugee youth and non-refugee youth together to support cross-cultural understanding and foster a connection through the sport. Upon her recent graduation from college, Holly hopes to pursue her interest in public health as a physician assistant.
STUART SCOTT ENSPIRE AWARD SPONSORED BY BRISTOL MYERS SQUIBB HONOREES
In honor of former ESPN commentator Stuart Scott, this award celebrates individuals that have taken risks and used an innovative approach to helping the disadvantaged through the power of sports.
In 2003, Frank Kipp founded and opened Blackfeet Nation Boxing Club at the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana to help all children with bullying, suicide prevention and drug and alcohol prevention, while also providing these kids with a safe place for them to find belonging and learn the art of boxing. Kipp has devoted his life to teaching, training and mentoring more than 500 of the club’s fighters, where they learn how to fight for respect, identity, acknowledgement, protection and survival. The club provides a safe harbor for those who want to learn and protect themselves — when Kipp saw that some of his fighters were coming to the gym hungry, he started serving meals after training sessions and opened a clothing and food bank out of a warehouse until the building was taken away. When kids were underdressed, he found them clothes and gear. And in a year when the pandemic devastated the reservation, Kipp never stopped fighting for the young people of Blackfeet Nation.
Like so many children, Baseball Hall of Famer and four-time World Series Champion Joe Torre grew up in a violent home where he watched his mother endure abuse from his father, and consequentially never felt safe. As an adult, Torre realized too many children also live and suffer with this fear and are unaware of how to ask for help. Torre founded the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation (SAH) to empower and provide healing services to traumatized youth exposed to violence, while educating them to end the cycle of domestic violence and save lives. Each year, SAH provides services to more than 19,000 young people in schools and communities, many of whom are impacted by trauma and violence. SAH’s multi-faceted school-based program, Margaret’s Place — named after Torre’s mother — provides integrated and comprehensive healing services to youth, and has reached over 109,000 young people, with 95% of students noting they are more hopeful about the future and 94% sharing they feel safer. And with Council on Criminal Justice reporting that domestic violence incidents have increased due to COVID-19 lockdown orders, SAH is committed to providing additional support to children so they can overcome these traumatic experiences.
Tom Walter and Kevin Jordan
After learning his student-athlete, Kevin Jordan, was in desperate need of a new kidney, Wake Forest Baseball Coach Tom Walter successfully donated his kidney to Jordan just days before the 2011 season, exemplifying an important lesson that despite being of different generations and backgrounds, their blood was the same. The two have since shared a special bond and remained close. Nearly ten years after the transplant, the world watched a video of George Floyd’s murder, which led to Jordan talking with Walter, about his fear, frustration and hurt, and how they — and their story of togetherness — could impact positive change. After several conversations, the coach and his former player created Get In the Game to educate and empower young people to take action in their homes, schools and communities and build a more diverse and equitable society. In its inaugural season, Get In the Game launched programs for middle and high school students, facilitated by trained educators, where youth, known as “GameChangers,” integrate principles of self-inquiry, cross-cultural communication and social movement strategy to foster challenging yet meaningful conversations on race and social justice, and inspire each other to be more intentional about listening, speaking up and taking action.
SPORTS PHILANTHROPIST OF THE YEAR AWARD
The Sports Philanthropist of the Year Award celebrates someone that is creating measurable social change through sports by using a comprehensive philanthropic funding strategy.
Arthur M. Blank
As the co-founder of The Home Depot, Blank believes that good companies can and should produce both profit and purpose towards a better world. In addition the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Blank’s Family of Businesses includes the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United; the nationwide PGA TOUR Superstore; three ranches in Montana, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Blank is consistently entrenched in community initiatives, and provides financial resources through Blank Family Foundation for his businesses to make an impact in Atlanta, the state of Georgia and beyond. Upon signing the Mercedes Benz Stadium deal in 2013, which is North America’s first LEED Platinum professional sports stadium, Blank committed $15 million to invest in the transformation of the Westside neighborhoods adjacent to the stadium. His innovative philanthropic approach also has led the Atlanta United Foundation to open the world’s first mini soccer pitches inside a mass transit system, transforming unused and underused spaces to serve local youth. In 2020 alone, Blank and The Arthur M. Blank Foundation donated more than $300 million to support a children’s hospital, stuttering research, COVID-19 relief, social justice causes and PTSD treatment for military and first responders.
LEAGUE HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR AWARD
The League Humanitarian Leadership Award recognizes a professional sports league’s programmatic and philanthropic investments and its work for strategically engaging with athletes, teams and business partners to create positive impact in communities.
National Basketball Association
In a year unlike any other, 2020 will hold a distinct place in the NBA’s storied history. From the night of March 11, when the league halted its season, to its hands-on response to the nation’s racial reckoning, the NBA took a leading role in serving, engaging and inspiring communities across the world. The NBA Together initiative — launched 10 days after the shutdown — not only kept fans informed and connected to important resources, but also generated more than $100 million for part-time arena staff, healthcare workers and vital servers, provided over 10 million pieces of PPE and donated 9 million meals to food-insecure populations. Ahead of the Presidential Election, the NBA helped expand voting access and awareness with 23 teams committing facilities for safe voting, where over 300,000 people casted ballots. The NBA and NBPA collaborated to speak out against racial injustice and call for change, creating the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition to advance social justice. Additionally, the league created the NBA Foundation with an initial $300 million investment to create greater economic empowerment in the Black community through employment and career advancement. During 2021 All-Star, the league built on that commitment with $3 million in support of HBCUs.
MARVEL’S EARTH’S MIGHTIEST ATHLETES
Marvel’s Earth’s Mightiest Athletes is a collective of inspiring athletes that mirror Marvel heroes with their extraordinary abilities on the field, and their commitment to making a positive impact off of it. Not only do these honorees reflect the values of Muhammad Ali’s sports humanitarian shown in this year’s awards, but each has delivered for the community in a way that’s aligned with the super-powered spirit of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Captain Marvel stands out as a hero committed to going “Higher, further, faster” for those in need. Two-time World Cup Champion and Chicago Red Stars defender, Julie Ertz, is always going above and beyond with her commitment to uplift communities, and is never afraid to take on challenges in an effort to help those in need. Together with her husband, Super Bowl Champion Zach Ertz, Julie founded the Ertz Family Foundation, which focuses its charitable efforts on youth sports and education, while also supporting families. During the pandemic, Ertz helped deliver more than 600,000 meals to families in Philadelphia, and provided safe after school workouts for underserved athletes, and the champion continues to work to provide at-risk students with tools to reach their full potential. The 2019 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year is also an ambassador for water4Her, where she lends her support of empowering 100,000 East African women through clean water access.
A long-time Marvel fan who has been personally inspired by Spider-Man, the Utah Jazz shooting guard and 2018 NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion is known by basketball fans for his agility and quickness on the court, and he continues to take the NBA by storm as one of its brightest young stars in the league in just his first four seasons. Off the court, Donovan Mitchell is a hero in his community as he is committed to giving back and helping others. Mitchell also dedicates his time to his nonprofit, SPIDACARES, in an effort to increase access to education for students and expanding opportunities for young people to develop athletic skills, good sportsmanship and physical well-being. His goal is to close the educational gap to eliminate racism, as Mitchell believes an individual is not born racist and that it is taught, and can be combatted through a proper education to close the divide. As a member of the inaugural board of the NBA’s National Basketball Social Justice Coalition, Mitchell is teaming up with league players to leverage the game’s platform to raise awareness, educate and advocate for social justice and meaningful reform to inspire and create positive change.
Marvel’s Black Panther is king of Wakanda and a powerful warrior committed to protecting all people. As the reigning UFC Heavyweight Champion, mixed martial artist Francis Ngannou is known for his strength in the octagon and power in supporting African kids in need. Growing up in extreme poverty in Cameroon and unable to afford the cost of school, Ngannou started working in the sand mines at age 11. Determined to pursue his passion in boxing, he made his way to Paris, where he was homeless and without support. Against all odds, he persisted; and upon his success, he pledged he would come back and support the development of kids in Africa. Understanding the unique opportunity that was provided to him to compete in combat sports and the impact that sport can have on one’s outlook and outcome, he launched the Francis Ngannou Foundation and built the first-ever fully equipped MMA gym in Cameroon for those in his hometown so they could pursue their dreams without having to move thousands of miles away from home. The gym allows Ngannou to provide a safe space and community where trainees can discover and improve their talents, while learning important life skills.
Russell Wilson exhibits the qualities of Captain America, including compassion, leadership and courage to help those most in need, and he founded the Why Not You Foundation to fight poverty through education and empower youth to confidently lead. The eight-time NFL Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion is a captain on and off the gridiron, as he was recently selected as the NFL’s 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year for his outstanding community service off the field and his excellence on the field. Wilson has helped donate more than $9 million to support the battle against cancer. He also makes weekly trips to Seattle Children’s Hospital while in season to visit with patients getting treatment, and during the pandemic, Wilson stepped up to donate a million meals to families in need. This upcoming September, Wilson and his wife, Ciara, will celebrate the grand opening of Why Not You Academy, a tuition-free charter public school just south of Seattle that focuses on building achievement, community and empowerment and prepares students to create and thrive in their future careers. The school will enhance the mission of Why Not You Foundation by providing today’s youth with tools to become tomorrow’s leaders.
About ESPN Corporate Citizenship
ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplift the human spirit. Its corporate citizenship programs use power of sport to positively address society’s needs through strategic community investments, inclusive storytelling, cause marketing programs, collaboration with sports organizations and employee volunteerism, while also utilizing its diverse media assets. For more information go to www.espn.com/citizenship and @ESPNCitizenship on Twitter and Instagram.
Co-founder Joe Torre and Senior Program Supervisor Hilda Aceves joined Spectrum News 1 SoCal to talk about our expansion in Los Angeles.
David Vassegh interviewed co-founder Joe Torre about Safe At Home on his podcast, Extra Innings.
In this new feature series by Safe At Home, you’ll get to meet some of our strongest supporters – and hear why they believe in our work.
When Tim Markison, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Athalonz, heard Joe Torre’s story, it felt so familiar to him.
Tim grew up wanting to be a professional baseball player. It was his greatest passion in life – and it was his safe refuge from the abuse he experienced as a child. Though his baseball skills got him to college, injuries ended his aspiration and left him wondering what came next.
As the years passed, despite being successful as an engineer and lawyer – as well as having a loving family – he still struggled with the emotional scars of his childhood experience. “I know firsthand the ill effects that carry over into adult life,” Tim shares. “For me, the emotional scarring and spiritual scarring festered causing me to feel worse about myself.”
Tim’s challenges with his self-esteem and self-worth are common among those who have experienced trauma – including violence and abuse – as children. Without early support, the long-term impacts of these experiences can be devastating.
Tim finally decided to seek out counseling to address his feelings. Over time, he came to realize that his struggles were directly connected to his experience – and that he had been living much of his life, even as an adult, in fear. “The thing that I’m working on most now is just letting go of fear. I lived my childhood in fear, there was no safe place for me. And that carried on into my adult life. And that over the last several years… is really starting to diminish. It’s an ongoing project.”
The journey to healing, hope, and empowerment can be lifelong. And as Tim has traveled this path, he realized he needed to speak up about his experience: “In my early days, I had no intentions of ever talking about what happened to me. I kept it very close and private because of the stigma. But I realized I can’t be silent anymore. As long as abuse stays in the dark, it will continue. I can’t accept that.”
His passion to draw attention to the issue and to make a safer world for children inspired him to seek out an organization that provided a safe place for children – and that’s how he connected to Safe At Home. “What struck me about the work is that it’s being in-school, working with kids to open up and creating a safety zone,” Tim shares. “I also appreciate how efficiently Safe At Home is run, so much of the funds raised go directly to support kids. That’s what a charity is supposed to be about.”
Charity and helping others are important parts of Tim’s life. Just over a decade ago, Tim founded Athalonz – a company that engineers performance optimization gear for athletes. Known for their performance enhancing golf shoes, Athalonz’s approach was to combine the strengths of its core team to help athletes achieve at their highest levels.
“I always kept my passion for baseball. 10 years ago, I went to a pro ball camp for adults and met Rick Adair – a former pitching coach for the Orioles. He shared this drill that he used after studying Hall of Fame pitchers to keep the lower half of the body positioned more effectively – and that made me think of how equipment, such as a shoe, might help someone naturally position that way as they pitch.”
From that conversation with Adair, Markison paired his engineering and legal background with the expertise of an orthopedic surgeon and a sports scientist to create the perfect shoe. Their products now not only enhance athletic performance, but have also have helped numerous customers with their health and posture.
Athalonz’s mission is to make the world a better place. Tim feels that purpose is twofold. “We do that with the products we make – we help athletes play their sport better and to feel better. Better play equals a better day. But we also do that with the humanitarian efforts we support.”
For Tim and Athalonz, that approach of doing good and making a better world means that they need to give back. A portion of all sales of Athalonz gear is donated to Safe At Home’s programs, not to mention the generous support their employees – including Tim – have provided over the last three years of partnership. Safe At Home is grateful to Tim and the Athalonz team for supporting our mission.
JOE TORRE SAFE AT HOME FOUNDATION DOUBLES PROGRAMMING REACH IN LOS ANGELES WITH HELP OF THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND LOS ANGELES COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION
Expanded Virtual Programming and Services Help Children Impacted by Violence and Abuse in Homes, Schools and Communities
LOS ANGELES, CA, March 4, 2021 – The Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation today announced that it has expanded its programming in Los Angeles, doubling its reach to students in Los Angeles County schools. This expansion is part of a growing partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s (LACOE) community schools initiative, with support provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH).
Safe At Home’s mission is to end the cycle of domestic violence through education. The organization’s Los Angeles programming provides healing, hope, and empowerment to youth who have witnessed or experienced violence and abuse. Due to COVID-19, Safe At Home shifted to virtual programming and counseling through its partnerships with the schools. The LACOE community schools model is a strategy aimed at disrupting poverty and addressing longstanding inequities. The approach highlights areas of need and leverages community resources so students are healthy, prepared for college and ready to succeed in the workplace and in civic life.
“For nearly ten years in Los Angeles, Safe At Home has provided life-changing services to children exposed to violence and abuse,” said Joe Torre, Co-Founder and Chairman, the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation. “Domestic violence exists behind closed doors, and the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us staying at home didn’t always mean being safe at home. We have seen a concerning and dramatic increase in domestic violence during this challenging time. It is critical that we expand our services now and reach children virtually in these situations. We are so grateful for the support of both the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s community schools initiative.”
“DMH continues to expand its support for LACOE’s community schools initiative though funding Margaret’s Place and this important work,” said Dr. Jonathan E. Sherin, Director, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
Through Safe At Home’s previous locations in Los Angeles, it reached more than 5,000 students a year. There are currently three Safe At Home locations currently actively operating in Los Angeles, in addition to the ten Safe At Home locations in New York, New Jersey and Ohio. Beginning December 2020, Safe At Home doubled its programming reach as it expands into six additional schools, many in separate districts across Los Angeles County:
- Bassett High School, Bassett Unified School District
- Centennial High School, Compton Unified School District
- Duarte High School, Duarte Unified School District
- John H. Glenn High School, Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District
- Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District
- Southeast Academy High School, Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District
“Due to everyone being isolated during this pandemic, children facing domestic violence and abuse can go unnoticed since they are not physically attending school or other facilities where mandated reporters can intervene and ensure they get help,” said Debra Duardo, Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools. “Our partnership with Safe At Home supports our Community Schools initiative to attend to the needs of the whole child and ensure that all our young people are emotionally and physically healthy and ready to learn.”
Safe At Home, which helps children impacted by violence and abuse in their homes, schools, and communities, has reached more than 100,000 students since its founding. Safe At Home helps young people cope with their experiences and get on the path to healing, hope, and empowerment. Safe At Home’s signature program is a school-based safe room called Margaret’s Place, named in honor of Joe Torre’s mother. Each Margaret’s Place is staffed by a full-time, master’s-level therapist who provides both individual and group counseling sessions. Additionally, each Margaret’s Place program has a peer leadership program, which supports youth as they foster social, organizational, and leadership skills, and empowers young people to be change agents in their communities. Safe At Home also offers an intern program for alumni of the Margaret’s Place program who have demonstrated responsibility and leadership potential. Alumni staff assist in managing the peer leadership program, create and lead workshops, ensure that youth voice is present in its work, provides professional development opportunities for alumni, and establishes a relatable point of access for students. With the additional funding in Los Angeles, Safe At Home plans to launch its successful alumni program to its schools in California.
“We are incredibly grateful to double our reach in Los Angeles, reaching approximately 5,000 children in the 2019-20 school year to now more than 13,000 children in Los Angeles County alone,” said Ali Torre, President, Safe At Home. “The impact of domestic violence and abuse on children, families and communities can be devastating and the pandemic exacerbates the situation. Bringing our resources and services directly into school programming will help us end the cycle of domestic violence and, ultimately, save lives.”
Joe Torre Safe At Home is proud to announce that we are partnering with the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) on their Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month initiative throughout February. OPDV will be running a month-long social media campaign, and will also be meeting with some of Safe At Home’s peer leaders to talk about teen dating violence, and how more resources can be made available to support healthy relationships among youth.
A full press release about the initiative is printed below.
For Immediate Release: 2/9/2021
NEW YORK STATE MARKS TEEN DATING ABUSE AWARENESS MONTH, ILLUMINATING ALFRED E. SMITH BUILDING FOR WEAR ORANGE DAY
Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Kicks off Year-Long Social Media Campaign, Partnership with Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation to Prevent Teen Dating Abuse
Governor Cuomo Issues Proclamation to Raise Awareness of Teen Dating Abuse
The Alfred E. Smith Building, home to the state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, will be illuminated orange this evening to mark Teen Dating Abuse Awareness Month and “Wear Orange Day,” a nationally recognized initiative aimed at raising awareness about teen dating violence through prevention education. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a proclamation designating February Teen Dating Abuse Awareness Month in New York State, while OPDV announced a month-long social media campaign, a year-long outreach effort to raise awareness about teen dating abuse and a forum with the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation to engage teens and help service providers develop best strategies to respond to and prevent dating abuse.
“As we continue our work to be survivor-centered in New York State, listening to voices of every age and experience is essential,” OPDV Executive Director Kelli Owens said. “This February, we are eager to focus on listening to teens’ input on dating abuse and highlight the tactics used even more frequently among this population, such as cyber abuse. We thank Governor Cuomo for his continued commitment to increasing awareness of the many facets of gender-based violence. We look forward to our ongoing collaboration with organizations such as the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation to elevate the voices of young people throughout New York State.”
New York State has been a national leader in advancing the rights of women and girls, and OPDV is reaching out to teens and the adults who they interact with to assist with recognizing the signs of dating abuse, identifying means to prevent it and ensuring that teens find the support they need. OPDV’s forum with the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, which provides violence prevention and intervention services, will be private so teens can freely explore the signs of dating abuse and their responses to it. The forum will be part of a year-long campaign focused on listening to teens and giving them a voice.
OPDV will also mobilize a teen advisory group, launch a teen Instagram page and release YouTube videos. The social media platforms will host user-generated content, live chats, surveys and educational materials for both teens and the adults who interact with them. Throughout the year, OPDV will provide an array of training materials and fact sheets and host follow-up discussions with partner organizations to improve outreach, education and services for teens.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, “There are sadly many forms of gender-based violence, and that includes teens who experience dating abuse. New York State’s commitment to raising awareness and providing support services is deeply personal to me, as my mother was an advocate for domestic violence victims and survivors. I want to commend the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence for their efforts to stem this ugly scourge. The more we educate, the better our chances of preventing and ending gender-based violence.”
Joe Torre, Chairman and Co-Founder of Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, said, “The Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation is proud to partner with the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence to engage with more teens and prevent dating abuse. I grew up in a violent home where I felt the abuse was my fault. Too many children live in fear, feeling alone and ashamed. Our forums will address these issues head-on, listening and focusing on the signs and responses to teen abuse.”
New York State’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-942-6906, text: 844-997-2121 or chat: @opdv.ny.gov. For a list of domestic violence hotlines by county, visit the New York State Domestic Violence Directory. The Office of Victim Services also funds a network of more than 200 community-based programs that support victims of crime and their families.
Check out this great video from our Margaret’s Place counselor Vianey as she teaches you to make a stress ball.
Check out this streaming workshop for all audiences – Guided Meditation & Mindfulness Activity, produced through support from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.
This workshop is presented by Saeideh Golgi (LCAT-LP), a Margaret’s Place Counselor in New York City. This workshop is a guided meditation and mindfulness activity to help you ground yourself, de-stress, and focus.
Safe At Home is excited to share this brief video with tips about healthy family communication during virtual learning.
Many of us have a family member who is currently engaged in virtual or hybrid learning. That experience can add new stress and challenges to our families. Our Clinical Program Supervisor Rachel Quiles has prepared a short video with tips on how to improve communication during this time: