Dallas, June 20, 2012 – Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay FoundationSM are building four new Nature Explore Classrooms at women’s shelters across the United States as a part of its corporate social responsibility initiative, Pink Changing LivesSM. Domestic violence shelters providing shelter services to survivors of domestic violence with outdoor space available to accommodate learning stations and equipment are eligible to apply at www.marykayfoundation.org. By the end of 2012, Mary Kay will have sponsored 17 Nature Explore Classrooms to help child survivors of domestic violence heal from abuse – representing a combined donation and support of nearly $800,000 since the program’s inception in 2009.
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 or experienced abuse.

There are 13 Nature Explore Classrooms to date that have been sponsored and opened by Mary Kay in Colorado, California, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Texas.

Along with the outdoor area, each Nature Explore Classroom includes a multi-faceted curriculum 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.

According to Dimensions, an outdoor classroom offers endless possibilities for discovery. Children who are engaged and active are far more likely to exhibit positive behavior and exhibit stronger social skills, all of which are critical for children who have witnessed domestic violence.
“Children are the innocent victims of domestic violence. Many of the children we meet in our shelter are experiencing the same emotions of their mother: feelings of fear, isolation from family and friends, anger, chaos and uncertainty. The Nature Explore Classroom provides our children with a space to just be kids again. It is a space that allows them to be creative and free and creates an environment that will help them heal from the trauma they have endured. We are so thankful to the Mary Kay Foundation for making this space possible for the children we serve,” said Suzanne Dow, Executive Director at Circle of Hope Services for Victims of Domestic Violence located near Atlanta, Georgia.

The Nature Explore Classroom project is one example of the unique ways that Mary Kay is addressing 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. By the end of 2012, The Mary Kay Foundation will have donated more than $31 million to organizations providing domestic violence education and prevention programs.

About Mary Kay
Mary Kay is one of the world’s largest direct selling companies with more than $3 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 2.4 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 Mary Kay FoundationSM
The Mary Kay FoundationSM was created in 1996, and its mission is two-fold: to fund research of cancers affecting women and to help prevent domestic violence while raising awareness of the issue. By the end of 2012, The Mary Kay FoundationSM will have awarded more than $31 million to shelters and programs addressing domestic violence prevention and more than $18 million to cancer researchers and related causes throughout the United States. To learn more about The Mary Kay FoundationSM, please visit www.marykayfoundation.org or call 1-877-MKCARES (652-2737).