In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay Foundation are building Nature Explore Classrooms at five women’s shelters across the United States as a part of its corporate social responsibility initiative, Pink Changing LivesSM.  Nature Explore Classrooms are outdoor learning spaces designed to include nature in the daily lives and learning of children. Research shows that nature buffers the impact of life stress on children and helps them deal with adversity. It also helps reduce or eliminate anti-social behavior such as violence, bullying and vandalism – all of which are common in children who have witnessed abuse.  This is the first time a Nature Explore Classroom is being built at a domestic violence women’s shelter. The women’s shelters that will receive the Nature Explore Classrooms from Mary Kay are located in Illinois, Texas, California, New Jersey and Georgia. Along with the outdoor area, each Nature Explore Classroom includes a multi-faceted curriculum with details on how to fully maximize the educational opportunities and healing effects of the outdoor environment. Mary Kay Inc., The Mary Kay Foundation and the Arbor Day Foundation partnered with Dimensions Educational Research Foundation to build the five Nature Explore Classrooms.  “As an organization, we believe that violence against women is simply unacceptable,” said Anne Crews, Mary Kay Inc.’s vice president of government relations and board member for The Mary Kay Foundation. “Bringing these Nature Explore Classrooms to women’s shelters is just one example of how we are addressing domestic violence. We know that helping women and children connect with nature during the healing process will empower them. Our primary goal is to enrich women’s lives. Because of this, Mary Kay will continue to be an advocate on the issue of domestic violence and a champion for women around the world.”

The Nature Explore Classroom is one example of the unique ways that Mary Kay has addressed the issue of domestic violence. Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay Foundation have underwritten two PBS documentaries on domestic violence, lobbied Congress to pass the Violence Against Women Act and its subsequent renewal, provided grants to domestic violence women’s shelters, gave a grant to fund a salary for a special prosecutor for domestic violence crimes and underwrote an interactive DVD-based curriculum addressing teen dating violence in a partnership with Break The Cycle.