Domestic violence occurs in millions of households daily, and many of those incidents go unreported. When violence is present in a home, it impacts everyone, whether they’re the victims of the abuse or not. Inevitably, that violence stretches beyond the walls of the home, affecting neighbors, family, friends, coworkers, communities and the world. Futures Without Violence started their journey by boldly asking, “What if we could prevent this from happening?”

For nearly four decades, Futures Without Violence has been providing revolutionary programs, policies and campaigns that empower individuals and organizations working to end violence.  The Allstate Foundation proudly joined the movement to end domestic violence more than 15 years ago with an emphasis on financial education and empowerment of survivors. In partnership with The Allstate Foundation, Futures Without Violence is increasing teens’ understanding of healthy financial relationships by integrating new resources and messaging into their Coaching Boys Into Men program funded in part by a $250,000 Allstate Foundation grant.

Because sports coaches often spend more time with their young athletes than teachers, counselors and even parents, they consistently rank among the top influencers of adolescents. Through sports, Coaching Boys Into Men activates change in teens by leveraging a consistent adult figure – their coach – as well as positive peer influence from their teammates. Sara Kriksciun, Chief Partnerships Officer with Futures Without Violence says, “What the science tells us about [violence] prevention, is that starting early matters. There are very formative windows in childhood that maximize the opportunity to change attitudes and behaviors and really foster healthy relationships.” Whether it’s a speech to the team, a practice session or a casual conversation, coaches have countless opportunities to impart their philosophies on young athletes.

Brian O’Connor, Director of Public Education Campaigns and Programs and co-founder of Futures Without Violence’s Coaching Boys Into Men program, says, “The best defense is an even better offense, so Coaching Boys Into Men really strives to have weekly conversations between the coaches and their athletes in a way that is explicit and gets out in front of [healthy and respectful relationships, dating violence, sexual assault, and harassment].” The curriculum and resources offer “teachable moments” as well as speaking points for coaches to address their teams in a clear and intentional way.

Alongside existing teachable moments like respect, integrity and non-violence, a healthy financial relationship topic will be added to the program with support from The Allstate Foundation. Kriksciun expands on the partnership saying, “We’re working together on moving the needle of prevention to also include financial abuse, so while there’s a lot of science and evidence out there about how to prevent physical violence and emotional abuse, the science, the data and the research around preventing financial abuse isn’t as robust.”

This new curriculum will encourage coaches to challenge toxic masculinity and historical gender roles that define men and women one dimensionally as solely breadwinners or homemakers and other harmful financial-related messages that perpetuate gender inequality. O’Connor says that if you walk away learning one thing about this initiative, it’s simply that “Coaching Boys Into Men is about teaching boys that violence never equals strength.”

Futures Without Violence Coaching Boys Into Men program has proven to inspire male athletes to positively and safely intervene when they witness abusive or disrespectful behavior and reduce abuse perpetration. The Allstate Foundation is proud to support this program along with providing a variety of tools for the public, concerned loved ones and those experiencing abuse themselves. Learn more about The Allstate Foundation’s resources and work to end domestic violence here.

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