Green Bear Project launches new high school program

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – The Green Bear Project launched a new high school prevention program for 9th through 12th graders in area high schools for the 2022-2023 school year.

The Green Bear Project was created in 2001 by Leasa Stone with a mission to educate the community about child abuse.

Over the past 20 years, Green Bear has educated thousands of adults and kids about the dangers, warning signs, and prevention of child abuse through various programs in southeast Missouri.

In 2021, the program educated nearly 15,000 southeast Missouri children through presentations.

Leasa Stone, Prevention Education Coordinator and Green Bear Founder, created the program in memory of Baby Ty – a two-year-old who was killed by his biological parents in September 2000 after returning to them from foster care.

Prior to this year the program educated pre-kindergarten through 8th grade students. However, due to demand from area school counselors and Missouri Revised Statutes Section 170.045 RSMo (which requires high schools to provide abuse prevention education to students), the high school program was created.

Green Bear educators have 29 high schools in their service region signed up for presentations and the number continues to grow for the 2022-2023 school year. All Green Bear presentations are free to schools and organizations in their nine-county service region.

Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence (SEMO-NASV) coordinates and sponsors The Green Bear Project.

The Green Bear Project and SEMONASV are bringing in a national speaker, private investigator and social justice advocate, Melissa J. Straub, to talk to area parents more in depth about online safety.

Melissa’s presentation “A Parent’s Road Map to Protecting Their Children in the Digital World” will be free to parents and guardians on Tuesday, September 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center located at 1080 S. Silver Springs Road in Cape Girardeau.

Contact Leasa Stone at lstone@semonasv.org to see if the Green Bear Project is being offered at your school. For more information, visit greenbearmo.org, or SEMO-NASV, at semonasv.org.If you have or are experiencing sexual violence, you can call SEMO-NASV’s 24-hour crisis hotline at (877) 820-6278.

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