H.E.A.R.T: An Innovative Program Shaping Social Norms and Promoting Healthy Relationships for Youth & Young Adults


Promoting Health Relationships presented by Jennifer Ponce

Jennifer Ponce, CHES

Prevention & Education Manager, Laura's House

Laura’s House successfully provides a comprehensive and effective range of accessible programs and services that address the issue of domestic violence and promote community health and wellness, including a comprehensive prevention education program.

Using a social ecological model, Laura’s House has developed a successful dating violence prevention program by creating a free educational, one-hour interactive school-based program for students to address this wide spread issue of dating violence. Through Healthy Emotions and Attitudes in Relationships Today or H.E.A.R.T. we cover the following issues: healthy relationships and healthy boundaries, self-esteem, recognizing signs of abuse, how to help a friend, and resources.

Since 2007, we have used strategic implementation and evaluation strategies to develop this program. In the early stages, we fostered relationships with community stakeholders to bring this intervention to over 75 high schools, middle schools, colleges and universities. We use questionnaires to evaluate and enhance the program annually.

The H.E.A.R.T program has resulted in 1,505 presentations given to 61,483 pre-teens, teens, and young adults. 94.3% of all H.E.A.R.T. participants report now knowing how to identify a healthy relationship. 93% of all participants report knowing how to get help or help a friend if they are in an unhealthy relationship. Since the implementation of H.E.A.R.T., over 10,000 students have taken a pledge to raise awareness to stop teen dating violence in their communities.