Pyatt Promise Powers Prevention

Pyatt Promise Powers Prevention

KCSARC’s prevention educators often speak about the holistic work we do to end sexual violence in metaphoric terms, likening our response to sexual assault to saving people from drowning in a river. We pull individuals — survivors  — from the river, help them heal and hold offenders accountable with direct services, such as therapy and legal advocacy.

But what if we could stop people from falling in the river to begin with?

That’s the big opportunity we see ahead, and the next frontier in our work. With historic numbers of survivors feeling more empowered to speak up, the culture has never been so primed for shifting attitudes, especially in the next generation.

We brought this big opportunity to Paula and Jeff Pyatt. The Pyatts have supported KCSARC’s work for decades, and these generous donors were looking for a way to make an even greater impact.

We shared with them the school-based prevention education we have been doing over the last three years in Renton schools that is showing promising results.

The goal of this work is to increase youth understanding of concepts like consent, healthy relationships, and power and control dynamics. The curriculum incorporates practical opportunities to apply these concepts and demonstrates ways in which students are already applying these concepts in their everyday interactions.

We have learned a lot in the short time we have delivered evidence-based prevention education and training. For example, we have learned the earlier children are able to internalize concepts like consent and healthy relationships, of power and control over their own bodies, the better. That led us to develop a new resource for elementary school educators, a sexual violence prevention workbook called Launch Pad.

We have also learned that in order to really make these lessons stick, we need multiple touchpoints, over an extended period of time. It’s no surprise that teaching a student about consent in one classroom, only to have that lesson undermined in another, or by family members and friends at home, stymies the long-term change we seek in attitudes and behaviors that we know are the key to ending sexual assault.

We talked with the Pyatts about what it would take to address the root causes of sexual violence, to stop perpetration, and to prevent new victims down the road from falling in that river. To truly achieve measurable results, we have to engage everyone involved in a young person’s world, and ensure they understand and reinforce these critical lessons at home, on the sports field, and beyond. Evidence shows long-term changes in learned behaviors is possible when prevention strategies are part of ongoing conversations and incorporated into a young person’s everyday interactions.

We know addressing root causes of sexual violence must be part of our core mission if we want to reduce the incidence of sexual assault. Yet, it has been difficult to prioritize this game-changing work amid unprecedented demand for direct services KCSARC has experienced in the last few years. The unfortunate choices come down to this: do we increase KCSARC’s capacity to pull individuals from that river following sexual assault? Or do we increase capacity to do the deep prevention education and outreach we know is necessary to stop the flow of new survivors permanently in the years to come?

The answer is: we must do both. And the Pyatts recognize this. With a commitment of $50,000 in support of prevention programming in each of the next three years, they have established a new fund within the KCSARC giving circle.

Called The Pyatt Promise, this fund allows KCSARC to deepen its existing relationship with Renton schools and build a more robust, evidence-based prevention strategy that reaches students, their families, educators, and peers. By influencing behavior patterns and the cultural values and norms that contribute to sexual violence, we expect lasting results from this community-based work.

This kind of innovation is possible because supporters like the Pyatts are willing to step up and make a multi-year investment. Knowing these resources are in place for a longer period of time maximizes our ability to plan, staff, and evaluate the program. It increases efficiency because it reduces the time spent fundraising in order to continue making an impact. This bedrock of funding gives KCSARC the basis to inspire giving from others.

The Pyatt Promise represents innovation in individual philanthropy, and hope for our broader community. If you are interested in learning more about this giving circle or our prevention work, please contact our External Relations Department at externalrelations@kcsarc.org or call us at 425.226.5062.