Dallas, December 13, 2011

Just in time for the holiday season, four domestic violence women’s shelters have been named as the recipients of a Mary Kay Nature Explore Classroom. 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.

Mary Kay has funded the Nature Explore Classroom Women’s Shelter Program since 2009 and has contributed more than $500,000 to the initiative. For the 2011 program, shelters from across the country applied to receive Nature Explore Classrooms and four finalists were selected based on the shelter’s need, reputation, services offered and leadership. The 2011 recipients are: Family Violence Prevention Services in San Antonio, Texas; HELP USA in New York; Partnership Against Domestic Violence in Atlanta; and Safe Horizon in New York.

“Safe Horizon is thrilled to be selected for this project,” said Ariel Zwang, CEO, Safe Horizon. “Nature Explore Classrooms are usually constructed in areas where children have regular access to schools, parks and child care centers. However, children who are currently living in a domestic violence shelter with their mothers would not have access to these locations because doing so could jeopardize their safety. We are so grateful to Mary Kay for bringing an outdoor environment to one of the Safe Horizon shelters. The Nature Explore Classroom can provide another powerful tool to help children move past a painful experience.

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 FoundationSM and the Arbor Day Foundation partnered with Dimensions Educational Research Foundation to build the Nature Explore Classrooms. To date, Mary Kay has funded thirteen Nature Explore Classrooms in the United States. Previous recipients include domestic violence shelters in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey and Texas.

Mary Kay has an ongoing commitment to lobbying for good and working to prevent and end domestic violence. Beginning in the 1980s, Mary Kay Inc. lobbied state and national lawmakers advocating for insurance coverage of mammograms. Over the last 15 years the company has lobbied for the federal Violence Against Women Act, its reauthorization and subsequent appropriations.

About Mary Kay

Mary Kay is one of the world’s largest direct selling companies with more than $2.5 billion in annual wholesale sales worldwide. Mary Kay was founded in 1963 by Mary Kay Ash with the goal of helping women achieve personal growth and financial success. Mary Kay remains committed to enriching women’s lives, and today more than 2 million people of all backgrounds are enjoying the advantages of being Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants. Mary Kay’s high-quality skin care and color cosmetic products are sold in more than 35 countries around the world. To learn more about Mary Kay, visit www.marykay.com.

About the 2011 Nature Explore Classroom Recipients

Family Violence Prevention Services
Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. (FVPS) has been helping victims of domestic violence in San Antonio since 1977. FVPS began as an emergency shelter for women and children and now offers a complete array of shelter, transitional housing, counseling, children’s, and legal services to help individuals and families recover from the pain and long-term effects of domestic violence. The mission of Family Violence Prevention Services Inc. is to break the cycle of violence and to strengthen families, by providing the necessary tools for self-sufficiency through the delivery of emergency shelter, transitional housing, education, effective parenting education, and early intervention with children and youth.

HELP USA is a national not-for-profit organization with a mission to empower the homeless and others in need to become and remain self-reliant. Through the development of quality housing with on-site support services, HELP USA (HELP) provides resources for homeless veterans, families, victims of domestic violence, and single adults to become independent and productive. HELP seeks to break the cycle of dependency by addressing underlying causes in a way that respects the dignity of its clients. HELP USA helps its clients help themselves. Since 1996, HELP has been successfully operating HELP Haven – an emergency domestic violence shelter. HELP is also a very experienced and successful provider of non-residential domestic violence services. In 1997, HELP USA founded HELP ROADS (Reaching Out to Advocate for Domestic Abuse Survivors), a bilingual, non-residential program serving survivors and their families. ROADS offers the following services: hotline assistance, individual/group counseling, advocacy, crisis intervention, domestic violence workshops, parenting classes, anger management, and trainings. An integral part of our service continuum includes aftercare services for victims transitioning out of shelters.

Partnership Against Domestic Violence
For more than 36 years, PADV, the largest nonprofit domestic violence organization in Georgia, has provided professional, compassionate, and empowering support to battered women and their children in metro Atlanta. PADV began as an all-volunteer agency in 1975 and incorporated in 1977. Today, the agency has more than 40 full- and part-time staff with an administrative office and two 24-hour emergency shelters serving Metro Atlanta. PADV works to end domestic violence by offering safety and shelter for battered women and their children; restoring power, self-sufficiency and control to domestic violence survivors; and educating the public on the dynamics of domestic violence. Our mission is to end the crime of intimate partner violence and empower its survivors.

Safe Horizon
Safe Horizon is the largest victims’ services agency in the United States, with 57 locations serving more than 250,000 children, adults, and families affected by crime and abuse throughout New York City each year. Since 1978, Safe Horizon has provided victims of domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking, rape and sexual assault, as well as homeless youth and families of homicide victims, with a wide range of comprehensive support. Our programs also partner with governmental and other community agencies so we can offer additional assistance, including finding resources for those living outside New York City.