One Love: Saving Young Lives from Relationship Abuse One Workshop at a Time
Yeardley Love was a vibrant University of Virginia lacrosse player when she was killed by her ex-boyfriend three weeks before graduation.
At her funeral, it dawned on her grieving family that there must have been warning signs that could have saved her life.
“They decided to build a foundation to make sure young people knew the signs of abusive relationships and could learn how to have healthy ones,” says Julie Myers, newly installed CEO of the One Love Foundation. Myers, a long-time, highly respected lacrosse coach, knew Love since 2001, when Love was a middle school lacrosse star but really became close with her when she coached Love at UVA. Myers is honored to now be leading the One Love Foundation established in Love’s memory.
One Love aims to end relationship abuse by educating youth and young adults about the 10 signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships, which they developed with a team from Johns Hopkins Hospital. They do this through age and diversity appropriate films, workshops, and online materials at no charge.
Since Yeardley’s death made international headlines in 2010, One Love has reached more than 2.5 million young people around the country, including 225,000 students across California. The state is one of the few where the teaching of healthy relationships is mandated in middle and high schools, affording the nonprofit “tremendous opportunity” for growth, especially in Los Angeles.
“Very few people know about One Love in California, and we have a very strong initiative to build out Los Angeles largely because the entertainment and media industry has the potential to be a megaphone to the world for us,” Myers says.
Many students who experience a One Love workshop realize that they’re in an unhealthy relationship and seek support, explains Myers.
“There’s also some really incredible stories from kids that take a workshop and realize they’re the perpetrator of these unhealthy signs and didn’t understand that was unhealthy,” Myers says.
One woman told One Love that her teen granddaughter was in what she hadn’t realized was an abusive relationship for two years. Her school counselor led them to One Love’s website.
“She is now five months out of the relationship and no longer having suicidal thoughts,” the grandmother said. “I attribute this to One Love and offer my heartfelt thanks.”
One Love-California works with the schools, teachers, and specific school districts – including Los Angeles – to build tailor-made programs for school use. One Love supports 140 volunteer youth leader students throughout the state who spread One Love’s life-saving preventive education while advocating for its greater use.
“These young people are our boots on the ground in the schools and they’re leading hundreds, if not thousands, of their peers when it comes to loving better,” Myers says. “We want to raise awareness and end relationship violence for everybody. Yeardley Love chose to wear the number one in college, but the irony is, she didn’t have the ego of a player that typically chooses to wear the number one. Yeardley was a person and a teammate that always put others ahead of herself. One Love is for everybody, just as Yeardley and the Loves have been.”
Contact: Katie Brosseau
Love is the most important thing in our lives, yet we are taught very little about it. One Love is on a mission to change that.
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The day after my son started working with One Love, he broke up with his girlfriend. This movie did more in one class period than our last two years of conversations with him. Thank you for giving my son a voice.
Help Prevent Relationship Violence
The One Love Foundation empowers young people to be the movement’s driving force in ending relationship abuse. They’re seeking $50,000 to fund all the materials, community building activities, and advocacy efforts needed to train Los Angeles youth leaders and Team One Love clubs to educate their peers about abusive relationships. They’re focusing on connecting with more male-identifying youth this year to ensure they become a vital part of this important work.
“I was in an abusive relationship and couldn’t identify it until I found [One Love],” a college freshman said. “It was the first time I could put words to what I was experiencing, and I was ultimately able to leave my partner and move past this experience.”