On Wednesday, the Kansas City Chiefs, through the Hunt Family Foundation, and the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA) announced a multi-year partnership designed to sustain and expand prevention programs in the greater Kansas City area.
MOCSA uses a public-health model to prevent sexual violence and increase awareness about victim services. Programming includes education, outreach and prevention initiatives for all ages from children to adults. Nearly 45 regional public and private school districts rely on MOCSA to lead these efforts.
Project Aware is MOCSA's sexual abuse education for children in pre-kindergarten through 5th grade and uses age-appropriate learning techniques and materials, like coloring books, and also includes an adult class for parents and school staff.
MOCSA's Green Dot is a national violence-prevention program in area middle schools designed to help change the culture of schools so that bullying, dating violence and harassment are not tolerated. Student leaders learn to develop and implement school-wide campaigns using peer influence to encourage positive choices from classmates.
"I feel like it's everybody's responsibility to help stop sexual harassment. So some things you can do are try to get an administrator to help, talk about something else, or distract the person who is trying to sexually harass somebody." - Eighth grade student leader
MOCSA's Youth-Led Prevention program uses a similar peer influence model at the high school level to help end dating violence and sexual assault through changing social norms. Trained student leaders learn to develop their own prevention campaign, program budget and metrics to measure success in their school.
To reach the more than 69,000 youth and adults that MOCSA provided education and prevention services for in 2018, MOCSA staff are all over the city each week at health fairs, churches, bars, restaurants, and community events engaging adults in presentations, trainings, outreach campaigns and tabling activities that discuss sexual assault, child sexual abuse, bystander engagement and victim assistance.
"MOCSA is a local leader in changing the discussion around healthy relationships in our community, and it starts with their staff of trained and dedicated individuals who are focused on education, prevention and support services," Chiefs President Mark Donovan said. "We have worked closely with MOCSA in the past and appreciate the relationship and support they have provided us, and we are looking forward to working hand-in-hand with MOCSA in local schools to address the need for sexual violence education and prevention in our community."
"We are honored to partner with the Chiefs and the Hunt Family Foundation to expand the vital education and prevention programming that our expert staff are providing throughout Kansas City," said Julie Donelon, President and CEO of MOCSA. "Though we've worked closely with the Chiefs over the years, including providing training for their players and cheerleaders, we're excited to expand our partnership and to make our community safer and more supportive for survivors, as we work together toward our shared vision of a community free from sexual violence."
Through a generous partnership with the Chiefs, MOCSA can increase its presence and engagement in local schools, community centers and public events. This funding will help the programming to reach more students and community members by adding staff and expanding prevention programs across the metropolitan area. Together, the two organizations will kick off their formal relationship next week at the eighth-annual Chiefs Style Lounge on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at The Abbott, where proceeds from the ticketed event will benefit MOCSA.
National research studies show that violence prevention efforts are exceeding expectations. MOCSA and the Chiefs are investing in prevention because it is effective programming that is having an impact in our region. Both organizations want to showcase and expand this work during this pivotal time to foster knowledge, attitudes and behaviors that help prevent sexual violence.
Since 1975, MOCSA has been the only rape crisis center in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area, serving victims of sexual abuse and assault across the lifespan, and educating the community about sexual violence. MOCSA's counseling, advocacy and education and prevention services allow the agency to fulfill its mission to improve the lives of those impacted by sexual abuse and assault and to prevent sexual violence in a six-county, bi-state service area.