Preventing Tragic Teenage Love Stories

MESA, Ariz., June 1, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kristy Knapp is on a crusade to stop teen dating violence and thanks to a $10,000 grant she received from Royal Neighbors of America's Nation of NeighborsSM program, she is making progress.

Since receiving her grant Knapp, a prevention specialist with the Crisis Center & Women's Shelter in Ottumwa, Iowa, has dramatically increased her outreach. Each year she works with schools within a 12-county service area. She said her services are needed, but sometimes even getting the message out is difficult. The Nation of Neighbors grant helped bridge the communications gap.

"One of the biggest obstacles for me is actually getting into the schools to talk about teen dating violence prevention," said Knapp. "Schools tend to shy away from information or subject matter that seems perhaps a little too "serious" or "intense." With the grant, I was able to make appealing posters that not only addressed teen dating violence prevention, but also included key messages about healthy relationships."

Knapp's strategy to upgrade the look of her collateral materials paid off and more schools allowed her to come in and talk to students. In the month of February alone Knapp presented information to more than 800 students during Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month. In one school, every student in grades seven through 12 attended – more than 300 students.

A portion of the Nation of Neighbors grant money is also being used to create a video on teen dating violence awareness and prevention. Knapp said the video will be broadcast on the Crisis Center website, social media, and hopefully the local cable network. She said she hopes the video will have long-lasting effects.

"In my position I am able to teach kids about real life situations and educate them on healthy relationships so we have a chance of averting the after-effects of dating violence such as alcoholism, eating disorders, promiscuity, thoughts of suicide, violent behavior, as well as becoming domestic violence victims when they become adults."

Teen dating violence is more prevalent than one might think. "A Youth Risk Behavior Survey of youth in grades nine to 12, found that, of those students who dated someone in the last 12 months, approximately one in 10 reported being a victim of physical violence from a romantic partner during that year."1 A Tween and Teen Dating Violence and Abuse Study by Liz Claiborne put the amount of abuse at a dramatically higher rate.2 Ignorance on the topic has consequences. According to the same Liz Claiborne study "only half of all tweens (age 11-14) claim to know the warning signs of a bad/hurtful relationship."3

"My proudest moment in my work was being awarded the grant from Nation of Neighbors for the work I have been doing with our youth, said Knapp. "I am thankful to have the funding to promote Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and make it much more visible to the community."

Knapp was nominated for her grant by the Royal Neighbors Chapter in Exline, Iowa. Royal Neighbors' customers, called members, can join a nationwide network of chapters to participate in grassroots, community projects in their area.

Royal Neighbors is currently accepting nominations for the grant program through June 15, 2016.

The Nation of Neighbors Program provides financial support to a person who has a plan to start or expand a business or organization/group that helps women and girls in their community.

Through the 2016 program, Royal Neighbors will present $10,000 each to 10 individuals who have a dream to empower women and girls and make a difference in their communities.

Royal Neighbors of America, one of the nation's largest women-led insurers, empowers women to meet the needs of their families with annuities and life insurance products such as whole life, simplified issue, and universal life.

Royal Neighbors was founded in 1895 and is headquartered in Rock Island, IL, with a branch office in Mesa, AZ. For more information, about Nation of Neighbors visit For more information about Royal Neighbors visit or call (800) 627-4762.

Cutline: Kristy Knapp (center) received a $10,000 Nation of Neighbors grant to help prevent teen dating violence. Knapp was nominated by Chapter 3000, Exline, Iowa. Pictured are chapter members Jean Leach (left) and Connie Foster (right).

W2016-4; Rev. 6-2016

1 Prevalence of Teen Dating Violence, National Institute of Justice, Oct. 29, 2014, Online article. PDF on file.

2 Tween and Teen Dating Violence and Abuse Study, Feb. 2008, online article. PDF on file.

3 Ibid

A photo accompanying this release is available at:

CONTACT: Sally Marks (480)970-2521

Source: Royal Neighbors of America