[Providence, RI – Thursday, October 9, 2014] Amid heightened public awareness around domestic violence in sports, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) and WNBA legend Lisa Leslie share the message that sports can be a positive influence on a young person's life, helping her to succeed on the court and in life, as Leslie aptly puts it.
Rhode Island business and community partners, supporters, advocates, and survivors are joining the celebratory luncheon at the Rhodes on the Pawtuxet today. Dan Jaehnig, NBC10 News Anchor, and Dave's Marketplace, both long-time supporters of the RICADV, are also joining the celebration as the event's Master of Ceremonies and Champion Sponsor, respectively.
Earlier in the day, Leslie is spending time with students at Providence Career & Technical Academy for a special presentation that includes a question and answer session—all designed to show high school juniors and seniors the necessary life skills and healthy choices that can lead to future success.
"It's important for me to speak out against domestic violence and do my part to help prevent abuse by teaching youth about healthy choices as well as healthy behaviors that are so vital in their relationships, both personal and professional. I'm honored to shine light on this critical issue for the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Together we really can end domestic violence," said Leslie.
Leslie is also a supporter of the national NO MORE campaign against domestic violence.
"We are thrilled to have Lisa Leslie joining us as our guest of honor for this celebration. Lisa believes in supporting young women in sports because getting involved in athletics can encourage them to make healthy choices and can foster their future health and success. We know that engaging in sports often increases self-esteem, enhances social support networks and cultivates healthy lifestyles, decreasing some of the risk factors for domestic violence. We cannot wait to meet Lisa Leslie, an amazing role model not only for our youth but for people of all ages," said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the RICADV.
Evidence from the Journal of Adolescent Medicine suggests that girls and women who participate in sports and physical activity derive benefits related to self-esteem, including self-perception, self-worth, self-efficacy, self-empowerment, and enhanced personal freedom. There is also a link between social connectedness and sports, which has been shown to be a protective factor against dating and domestic violence.
The RICADV celebrates progress in the movement to end domestic violence while increasing its focus on emerging areas such as prevention. For decades, the RICADV has been a leader in the efforts to end domestic violence, with its six local member agencies serving approximately 10,000 victims of domestic abuse every year and providing prevention and education services to about 9,000 youth annually. As the work continues to evolve, advocates now know that domestic violence is a preventable public health issue – but ending domestic violence will take community involvement.
"Dave's Marketplace has supported the vital work of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence throughout the years, and we are delighted to join them in celebrating this significant milestone. Healthy families and communities are the core values of both of our organizations, and we look forward to partnering with them as we continue to work toward realizing our goals," said Renee Hughes, Community Relations Director for Dave's Marketplace.
The RICADV hopes that both individuals and organizations will join in this milestone celebration and is grateful for the generous support of business partners like Dave's Marketplace, the event's Champion Sponsor, and others, such as the Providence Journal Charitable Foundation, Alex and Ani Charity By Design, and Nixon Peabody.
"We are very proud of the strides we have made over recent decades to protect victims and hold abusers accountable," DeBare said. "We hope that community members join us in celebrating how far we've come and signaling our vision for the future, where our families no longer suffer and our communities are safe."
Dan Jaehnig also commended the RICADV's progress over the years, adding that he continues to be engaged in the work so that his family, neighbors, coworkers and viewers can one day live in a world where domestic violence doesn't exist. He encourages all Rhode Islanders to take action.
For more information about the RICADV, visit www.ricadv.org, www.facebook.com/RICADV, and @RICADV on Twitter. To help end domestic violence, send a text message to 41444 with the word NOMORE, a space, your desired donation, and your name (optional).
TOGETHER WE CAN END DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
About Lisa Leslie:
In 2001, Lisa Leslie was the first WNBA player to win the regular season MVP, the All-Star Game MVP and the playoff MVP in the same season. In 2002, she was the first person to dunk in a WNBA game and was the WNBA all-time leading scorer and MVP of the WNBA Championship. Leslie was a member of the gold-winning U.S. Olympic teams in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. She retired from the WNBA in 2009.
In 2009, Leslie released her autobiography Don't Let the Lipstick Fool You. Since her retirement, Leslie has worked as a sports commentator and analyst and is now one of the owners of the L.A. Sparks. She also shared her knowledge and skills around leadership with audiences across the country and is a supporter of the national NO MORE campaign against domestic violence.