News Release

Verizon Gives $5,000 Grant To Sunflower House, Kansas

Grant will fund program to teach Internet safety to middle school students

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February 28, 2011

Brenda Hill
Brenda.Hill@VerizonWireless.com  
913-344-2922
http://www.twitter.com/VZWBrenda  

Blair Lawrence
blawrence@trozzolo.com  
816-842-8111

OVERLAND PARK, KS — Verizon Wireless announced today a $5,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation that will go to the Sunflower House's Keeping Kids Safe Online program. The goal of the program, which began in 2003, is to provide parents with practical and meaningful information regarding online dangers for their children.

The Verizon grant will go toward the Keeping Kids Safe Online program specifically for middle school student in Johnson County and Wyandotte County. It will help support program components including development and implementation of the Internet safety program, production of resource materials for participants, and laptops for program staff to use in trainings and presentations.

"There is a huge need for programs like ours that teach vital information directly to young people, who are just entering the online world at such a high rate," says Allison McLain, Resource Development Director at Sunflower House. "Support received from the Verizon Foundation will assist us in continuing our growth and success of the Keeping Kids Safe online program."

In Spring 2010, the Sunflower House piloted the program specifically for middle school students. Recent research shows that teens are using the Internet at alarming rates and are becoming the targets of unwanted exposure to nudity, sexual solicitation, threats, harassment or bullying, and asked to meet by persons they do not know. Sunflower House seeks to educate these young people on the following topics through the Keeping Kids Safe Online middle school presentation.

1. Cell Phones and Sexting: what it is/dangers
2. The different types of electronic communication devices
3. Consequences legally and at school
4. Precautions

In May of 2010, more than 850 middle-school students were educated on the dangers of online victimization and the ways that they can protect themselves. Since that pilot, Sunflower House decided to go forward with this program in full force during the 2010-11 school year.

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About Sunflower House
Sunflower House is a nationally accredited Children's Advocacy Center dedicated to protecting children in our community from physical and sexual abuse through education, forensic and medical services. Sunflower House provides a child-focused environment for children and their families dealing with the trauma of abuse.

Prevention efforts include providing thousands of local children with the P.S. It's My Body Happy Bear play for children ages 4-7 and the new Keeping Kids Safe Online for Middle School Students. Prevention education targeted towards adults and child-serving professionals includes: Keeping Kids Safe Online, Mandated Reporter Training, Stewards of Children and Abusive Head Trauma Prevention.

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