Our mission is to transform violence prevention in schools by ending first-time perpetration and victimization. To this end, we provide holistic prevention education, trauma-informed victim support, and tailored tools and policies for institutional change.
Every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. And every 9 minutes, that victim is a child. These are not isolated incidences of violence. Sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking is situated within broader structures of oppression and inequality. The statistics about child sexual exploitation are devastating but it is a problem that remains largely hidden in public narratives. Children in every community are victims of sexual violence. This needs to change.
Nest places value on engaging with the whole child as well as the whole ecosystem. Our curriculum takes a sociopolitical approach, recognizing that sexual abuse exploitation and trafficking are not isolated events. This is a problem grounded in social and cultural systems that enable and normalize harm. Across our programs, we strive to intervene at the level of the social ecosystem, through youth leadership opportunities, sustained support to educators, and workshops for parents and caregivers. These initiatives have been proven to advance our goal of promoting healthy relationships and combating sexual violence in communities.
Violence is pervasive and has its roots in social and cultural systems that enable and normalize harm. A solution needs to address every part of this ecosystem, from families and schools to businesses and governments.
Our work seeks to create a safer, stronger ecosystem for every child. Through healthy relationships curricula, youth leadership opportunities, sustained support to educators, and workshops for parents and caregivers, we shift perspectives, deepen understanding, and offer concrete tools to keep children safe.
What stands out to me most about NEST is the depth of their research and knowledge.
Having the Nest curriculum taught in my class last year was life changing for many of my students.
This program has great potential to impact society and empower our younger generations to feel like they have a voice in improving conditions for many people.
I hope many other schools can take advantage of this important and excellent curriculum for their students.
The Nest Curricula were originally inspired by the documentary film, PLAYGROUND, directed by Nest's Executive Director, Libby Spears. PLAYGROUND was one of the first feature-length documentary films to comprehensively examine the insidious trends of child sexual exploitation in America and has reached audiences around the world.
Executive produced by George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Steven Soderbergh, Abby Disney, and Lauren Embrey and punctuated with poignant animation by Japanese pop artist Yoshitomo Nara, PLAYGROUND illuminates a sinister industry of unrecognized pervasiveness. A comprehensive revelation of an unknown epidemic, PLAYGROUND has been called essential viewing for any parent or engaged citizen.
The Nest Program for Healthy Relationships™ empowers youth as leaders in eradication of sexual violence against children, by equipping them with skills, knowledge, and opportunities for engagement. The program is structured in 5 units made up of 2-3 lessons each for flexibility in delivery. The lessons are taught by trained teachers and employs evidence-based techniques to decrease students’ risk of sexual exploitation and trafficking by 1) cultivating critical reflection to understand risk and systemic causes of sexual exploitation and trafficking; 2) increasing knowledge of safety in all relationships; and 3) teaching safety and bystander intervention skills.
While young children may not be ready for explicit conversations about human trafficking, educators can support children (3rd - 5th grade) to develop an understanding of their value and the value of every human life. These values include protecting one’s body and personal space; understanding fairness and equity; consent and accountability; recognizing stereotypes and being introduced to prosocial and community-oriented behavior.
The Nest Teacher Training is a proprietary, evidence-informed program, delivered by a Master Trainer and available to all staff at Nest partner schools. Training can be delivered in person over 2 days or in a full-day virtual session. Trainings for educators are tailored for the pedagogical priorities of their respective school or organizational settings. Trainings meet several standards and requirements for educators, including mandatory reporting.
Nest Student Forums offer a space for young people to bring their ideas and questions to their local community including policymakers and community leaders. These events also allow parents, caregivers, businesses, friends, and neighbors the opportunity to learn more about sexual violence against children, what resonates most with youth in their community, and what can be done to stop it.
We launched Nest Family Nights™ to challenge taboos and discomfort that create barriers to communication between youth and parents and caregivers. Nest Family Nights™ are designed to bring families and caregivers into the conversations that students are having about sexual violence prevention through the Nest Curriculum. Young people take the lead and facilitate small group conversations among other youth and family members. Through the course of the events, parents and caregivers start an important dialogue with the young people in their lives.
In 2020, we also launched a series of virtual workshops to help respond to the immediate needs of our educators. This workshop series was attended by over 750 educators, with a combined reach of nearly 3.5 million students and young people.
We work closely with schools and districts to create customized programming that speaks directly to their students and communities.
The workshops are headlined by our network of the most knowledgeable and highly regarded experts in the field.
Nest and our speakers are qualified to speak on a variety of topics, including but not limited to those below:
Providing direct support to youth victims and their families, representing the victim’s best interests throughout the reporting process after a disclosure. This includes coordinating with and ensuring follow-through and required action by law enforcement, direct services providers, and school staff involved in reporting.
Developing school policy that will streamline reporting protocols and procedures for all forms of child sexual violence. This policy work will be done at school, district, and state levels and will include pro-bono legal assistance, NGOs relevant to the specific aspects of policy advocacy, and local legislators.
Strengthening relationships between schools, local law enforcement and Child Protection Services and capacities to respond to disclosures compassionately and with a trauma-informed lens. Our ecosystem of stakeholders will be better equipped to support students who have been victimized.