Mary Kay Initiative Builds Outdoor Spaces for Children Healing from Abuse

Mary Kay recently dedicated its 20th Nature Explore Classroom in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation. Located at a domestic violence shelter in Florida, the outdoor learning space is designed to help children heal after witnessing abuse.

In the past 15 years, Mary Kay has supported domestic violence prevention and awareness programs to the tune of $50 million. The first-of-its-kind Nature Explore program focuses on children affected by domestic violence, who total some 3 to 4 million in the U.S. each year. Mary Kay partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation in 2009 to install 20 classrooms across the country. The $1.2 million initiative has brought Nature Explore Classrooms to domestic violence shelters in 13 states.

“One in four women in the United States experiences domestic violence in their lifetime, and far too often children are exposed to the abuse,” Crayton Webb, Mary Kay’s Vice President of Corporate Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility, said in a statement. “Through the culmination of the Nature Explore Classroom program, we have been able to provide safe places for children across the country to play and learn while also helping them to heal and overcome a painful experience.”

Developed by the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, Nature Explore draws on research showing that nature helps reduce stress and mitigate anti-social behaviors—the sort common in children who have witnessed abuse. The program incorporates outdoor classroom design services, educator workshops and natural products.

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