Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships (Start Strong) is the largest initiative ever funded to prevent teen dating violence and abuse by teaching 11- to- 14-year-olds about healthy relationships. This innovative approach to prevention is rallying entire communities to promote healthy relationships and prevent teen dating violence in middle schools.
We are bringing together a wide variety of partners in 11 communities across the country to tackle this issue and to empower young people to support safe and healthy relationships and ensure violence and abuse are never tolerated.
What We Believe
- Prevention in middle school matters.
- Teen are crucial to prevention efforts. We need youth-informed and youth-led programs to build healthy teen relationships.
- Parents, teachers, mentors and other adults play a critical role in helping young people to understand healthy relationships.
- Community-based approaches are essential and schools are a focal point in young people's lives.
Our Approach and Innovations
Start Strong takes a strategic public health approach to preventing teen dating violence and abuse that is based on four core components:
- Educating Middle School Students. Each site is using evidence-based curriculum for programs during and after school to teach middle school students about healthy relationships.
- Engaging Communities. Start Strong is educating older teens, parents, educators, and healthcare providers on talking to younger teens early and often about the importance of healthy relationships.
- Changing School Policies. Across the country, our sites are partnering with school administrators and community leaders to change and/or create school policies that cultivate positive school climates where healthy relationships are valued and violence prevention is promoted.
- Communicating in Creative Ways. Start Strong is using social media to reach teens online an spread the message that relationship violence and abuse should never be tolerated. Start Strong is also connecting to teens through popular culture topics in TV, movies, music, and video games.
Start Strong is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in collaboration with Futures Without Violence, formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Blue Shield of California Foundation* are investing $18 million in 11 Start Strong communities across the country to identify and evaluate best practices in prevention to stop dating violence and abuse before it starts. › more
- What is Start Strong? › more
- Who is responsible for this initiative? › more