Verizon Foundation Grants What is LOVE $25,000 to End Teen Dating Abuse In Santa Barbara County Schools

WIL inspiring healthy relationship

Verizon Foundation partnership a critical factor in program’s success. What is LOVE, a non-profit organization, has an evidence-based curriculum providing Santa Barbara County schools vital dating violence prevention.

Santa Barbara (October 2016) What Is LOVE, is pleased to announce receiving a $25,000 grant from Verizon Foundation Hopeline Campaign. Heidi Flato, Public Relations director for the pacific market for Verizon , said, “Verizon supports the work of nonprofits such as, What is LOVE, as they strive to improve the communities where our employees work and live. Together, we can help our youth learn about healthy relationships and how to prevent and end teen dating violence”.

What is LOVE has been actively providing school-based education programs that teach sexual assault prevention and healthy relationships for two decades.  

“Teen dating abuse has a serious impact on our schools. Dating abuse incidents threaten the safety of students and staff, distract students from learning and compromise the school climate. One in three teens in Santa Barbara county report experiencing physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, and digital abuse from a dating partner and most dating abuse happens in our schools,” says Christy Haynes-Stillwell MA, Psy, Founder & Executive Director for What is LOVE. “This generous grant from Verizon will help sustain our life-saving educational programs”.

Adds Haynes-Stillwell, “Dating abuse prevention is a difficult topic to approach, and many educators and parents don’t know where to start. That’s where What is LOVE can help. We have a variety of proven programs and materials that can be implemented in all school settings. We train school administrators and staff, we work with parent’s to help them identify abusive dating behavior and we provide community outreach materials to help teens throughout the country.”

What is LOVE has been actively providing educational school-based programs for more than two decades, and has partnered with educators in Santa Barbara County and researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara to measure the program’s effectiveness. Since 2009, the What is LOVE program has reached 33,292 teens:

  • 96% reported an increased knowledge and understanding of dating violence
  • 82% reported they know how to find resources and would get help for an abusive relationships
  • Which has led to a 300% increase in teens asking for help

Educators or parents who are interested in learning more about educating adolescents on dating violence prevention are invited to learn more at or contact

About What is LOVE: What Is LOVE is a school-based program working directly with teens, educators and parents to identify abusive dating, build healthy relationship skills, and connect youth and families to helpful resources. We address dating abuse through restorative justice principles, an innovative outreach strategy with interactive technology, the power of storytelling, and a media awareness campaign. Our goal is to provide students, parents, and educators with comprehensive tools designed to help teens:

  • Identify and avoid abusive relationships
  • Recognize harm caused by unhealthy relationships
  • Identify and practice healthy relationship skills
  • Empower teens to ask for help

About Verizon Foundation: For more than a decade, Verizon , through its various business units and its philanthropic foundation , has been a champion of ending domestic violence. Verizon supports a broad range of programs that include: training health care practitioners and first responders about screening for signs of abuse; engaging men as role models and advocates for prevention; educating teens about preventing dating violence ; and providing resources for domestic prevention organizations and survivors.

About HopeLine: HopeLine from Verizon connects survivors of domestic violence to vital resources, funds organizations nationwide and protects the environment. HopeLine provides ways for individuals to take action against domestic violence by donation no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories in any condition from any service provider. Verizon turns these devices into support for domestic violence organizations and programs nationwide.


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