About This Site

Think of this site as a resource companion for your work with teens on dating violence prevention. After four years of Start Strong’s successful middle school healthy relationships and teen dating violence prevention programming, we have a treasure trove of lessons to share. You’ll find insights that can guide important decisions about which strategies to use and how to execute them. You’ll also find inspiration and examples from people and programs that have been in your shoes before.

Whether you’re new to this work or have been at it for a long time; whether you’re a principal, school volunteer, concerned parent, pastor, or advocate—we have something to share with you. Equipped with our insights and your will to make a difference, your community can help start middle schoolers on the road to healthy relationships.

About the Start Strong Initiative

Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships (Start Strong) was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in collaboration with Blue Shield of California Foundation (BSCF) and Futures Without Violence. From 2008 to 2012, RWJF and BSCF invested $18 million in 11 Start Strong sites across the country to promote healthy relationships among 11- to 14-year-olds and identify promising ways to prevent teen dating violence.

The core components of the Start Strong program were to: i) educate and engage youth in schools and out of school settings; ii) educate and engage teen influencers such as parents/caregivers, older teens, teachers and other mentors; iii) change policy and environmental factors; and iv) implement effective communications/social marketing strategies.

RWJF recently commissioned the independent research firm, RTI International to evaluate the Start Strong program. It is one of the few, and largest, studies to take an in-depth look at healthy relationship development and teen dating violence prevention efforts involving middle school students. View the full set of findings.

11 Start Strong Sites:

About Our Organization

Futures Without Violence

Futures Without Violence served as the national program office of the Start Strong initiative. The organization has led the way and set the pace for ground-breaking education programs, national policy development, professional training programs, and public actions designed to end violence against women, children and families around the world. In 1994, Futures Without Violence was instrumental in developing the landmark Violence Against Women Act passed by the U.S. Congress.

Futures Without Violence has established a state-of-the-art Center for Leadership and Action to foster ongoing dialogue about gender-based violence and child abuse. The organization trains professionals, such as doctors, nurses, athletic coaches, and judges, on improving responses to violence and abuse. Futures Without Violence also works with advocates, policy makers and others to build sustainable community leadership and educate people everywhere about the importance of respect and healthy relationships.

About Our Funders

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change.

For more than 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.orgFollow the Foundation on Twitter or Facebook.

Blue Shield of California Foundation

Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of the state’s largest and most trusted grantmaking organizations. Our mission is to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly the underserved, by making health care accessible, effective, and affordable, and by ending domestic violence. For more information visit: www.blueshieldcafoundation.org.