The Nest Program For Teens: Healthy Relationships

The Nest Program for Healthy Relationships equips young people with skills, knowledge and leadership opportunities to educate others.

The program focuses not only on preventing sexual violence but promoting students’ well-being by:

Increasing students’ knowledge of systemic causes of sexual exploitation to help them identify and navigate risky situations.

Cultivating understanding of what healthy, safe relationships look and feel like.

Fostering mental health, safety skills and bystander intervention practices to build resilience and community.

Our approach promotes and supports honest conversation -- peer-to-peer, child-to-adult, and within the  broader community -- to nurture resilience and connection.

Students’ personal narratives are valuable sources of insight into their truths, needs, and strengths. Our approach promotes and supports honest conversation -- peer-to-peer, child-to-adult, and within the  broader community -- to nurture resilience and connection.
The Nest Curriculum for
High School and Middle School:

Healthy Relationships

The Power of Prevention Education

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Course Topics

The Nest Program for Healthy Relationships is skills- and content-focused, providing dynamic activities for teachers to support students in cultivating healthy relationships. Nest’s prevention education is unique in that it’s grounded in socio-political concepts such as power, privilege and oppression. Naming and navigating these ideas is critical to creating a foundation for and promoting a productive discussion of sexual exploitation and trafficking.

Lesson 1

Laying the foundation

We help teachers create safe, productive classroom environment necessary to explore vulnerability, power, oppression, abuse, and other challenging topics. The lesson starts with community-building activities and closes with a collectively-drafted classroom agreement that centers on participation, listening, and respect.

Lesson 2

THE IMPACT OF SILENCE

The goal of this lesson is to equip students with a vocabulary to discuss issues introduced in Lesson 1. Understanding the dynamics around risk requires looking at sexual exploitation and trafficking not as an isolated activity but as a problem linked closely to the way in which power operates not only in our relationships, but in our culture and society.

Lesson 3

CONSENT & HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

Students unpack what it means to maintain interpersonal boundaries. They then discuss healthy relationships by considering how they feel when they are in healthy relationships. We underscore the fact that there are many types of relationships (romantic, platonic, professional, familial, friend), and all can include characteristics of both healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Lesson 4

WHEN BOUNDARIES ARE CROSSED

What are unhealthy relationships and what does it mean when boundaries are not respected? Students will create safety plans by identifying trustworthy adults they can talk to if they believe themselves or someone else to be in an unsafe situation. Scenarios discussed include forms of sexual assault, exploitation, and trafficking.

An Evidence Based Curriculum

We take the evidence seriously. Current data about child sexual exploitation and trafficking reveals critical determinants for risk, including a significant relationship between emotional intelligence and protective factors in preventing exploitation and fostering resilience. As an evidence-based intervention, the Nest Program is built on proven methodologies from education, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, and community psychology. Our programming nurtures children’s authentic selves and cultivates their inherent strengths.

Our Partners

Suitable for grades 8-11
Nine 50-Minute Lessons
Over 15,000 students have been taught the Nest Program for Healthy Relationships
Over 90% of students reported significantly increased levels of knowledge and skills to keep themselves safe.

EDUCATORS

The Nest Foundation’s lessons were, and are, a perfect match for my [Leadership Class]. What I was looking for were meaningful lessons backed by authentic information, and a way for students to feel like they could make a difference and become defenders of human rights in some way. The development of the Nest curriculum is centered around this idea and ends with students not only creating a way to make that difference, but to also plan for future actions. 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.

Jill DiCuffa
Ann Richards School, Texas

Thank you for bringing this amazing program to our Rangel sophomores, empowering them to take the knowledge forward into all of their communities to create real positive change. I hope many other schools can take advantage of this important and excellent curriculum for their students.

Diana O’Connor
Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, Dallas, Texas

Having the Nest curriculum taught in my class last year was life changing for many of my students. At the conclusion of the unit, many of my students felt the urge to help this cause and change our cities’ juvenile trafficking reputation. Some students spoke at a public forum where they were able to question policy makers, while others created a Youth Ending Slavery chapter for our high school.

Kelsey Stiff
David Douglas School District; Portland, Oregon

Teacher Training
& Support

The 1-2 day Nest Teacher Training is a proprietary, evidence-informed program, delivered by a Master Trainer, that equips educators with the skills and knowledge necessary for implementing the Nest Program for Healthy Relationships. Participation is required to ensure maximum curriculum impact and curriculum safety.

During the training, participants build critical content knowledge and instructional mastery, and gain access to teacher-focused resources for personal support.  

Participants are awarded Nest certification upon completion.

Teacher Training
& Support

The 1-2 day Nest Teacher Training is a proprietary, evidence-informed program, delivered by a Master Trainer, that equips educators with the skills and knowledge necessary for implementing the Nest Program for Healthy Relationships. Participation is required to insure maximum curriculum impact and curriculum safety.

During the training, participants build critical content knowledge and instructional mastery, and gain access to teacher-focused resources for personal support.  

Participants are awarded Nest certification upon completion.

Unique Features

Student Forums

Students who have completed the Nest Program regularly demonstrate a desire to stay engaged in solving the problem of child sexual violence.

“Nest opened my eyes to this crisis impacting my city – I didn’t even know about it. We learned a lot about what has been swept under the rug. The shock of that propelled me into a leadership role – “I have to DO something.” I have to inform other people.”
Joanna, student
We craft pathways to action and civic engagement with and for young people. Nest Student Forums bring students and experts together at public events where they discuss pressing local issues, share perspectives, ask questions, and brainstorm solutions. These events advance public knowledge while developing student leadership.

Unique Features

Family Nights

Nest Family Nights are optional after-school events hosted by students and teachers to provide opportunities for family members to join the conversations taking place during the school day. Designed to follow the implementation of the Nest Program, Nest Family Nights can serve as a powerful bridge between schools and families to discuss difficult issues that affect their community.

Unique Features

Evaluation

Nest is committed to ensuring the effectiveness of the Nest Program for Healthy Relationships through evidence and evaluation methods developed in collaboration with nationally recognized researchers from NYU and Columbia University. We collaborate with district and school-level teams to adapt evaluation procedures to best meet school needs and monitor intervention impact.

Unique Features

Student Forums

Students who have completed the Nest Program regularly demonstrate a desire to stay engaged in solving the problem of child sexual violence.

“Nest opened my eyes to this crisis impacting my city – I didn’t even know about it. We learned a lot about what has been swept under the rug. The shock of that propelled me into a leadership role – “I have to DO something.” I have to inform other people.”
Joanna, student
We craft pathways to action and civic engagement with and for young people. Nest Student Forums bring students and experts together at public events where they discuss pressing local issues, share perspectives, ask questions, and brainstorm solutions. These events advance public knowledge while developing student leadership.

Unique Features

Family Nights

Nest Family Nights are optional after-school events hosted by students and teachers to provide opportunities for family members to join the conversations taking place during the school day. Designed to follow the implementation of the Nest Program, Nest Family Nights can serve as a powerful bridge between schools and families to discuss difficult issues that affect their community.

Unique Features

Evaluation

Nest is committed to ensuring the effectiveness of the Nest Program for Healthy Relationships through evidence and evaluation methods developed in collaboration with nationally recognized researchers from NYU and Columbia University. We collaborate with district and school-level teams to adapt evaluation procedures to best meet school needs and monitor intervention impact.

STUDENTS

I think this curriculum is incredibly important for students to hear because it educates them on an issue that most of them don't know is happening in their communities.

Student, 15

I just think this conversation is incredibly important and that talking about things like sexual abuseand intolerance is the only way we can begin to start decreasing the normality of it all.

Student, 15

I think that this is a unit that should be taught to everyone, and I also thought that this was one of the most important lessons I've learned in school.

Student, 15

This was the very first time that I found that I could take something I learned and feel I have the real power to turn around and educate others. It’s the first time that I learned something that I felt I HAD to teach others.

Ariel
Student

The Nest program started me on a career path to advocacy and activism. I want to be a lawyer to work for social justice causes and this is just now embedded in the way I think in my everyday life.

Sammie
Student

I think everyone needs an education on this. My guy friends are even taking action and I like how boys are waking up to this epidemic.

Student, 15

I enjoyed the curriculum very much, it gave a lot of insight on the matter and I was able to learn a lot. I think the forum is a good idea, getting people together to address the topic and get ideas running around. Keep this curriculum up, it'll have impact on people more and more and eventually this matter will come to simmer and hopefully stop completely.

Student, 18

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can the Nest Program for Healthy Relationships be taught?

The Nest Program for Healthy Relationships Curriculum is designed to be implemented in a traditional school-day. However, the curriculum can also be taught during summer enrichment programs and in after-school settings by trained teachers or other trained staff. The program was evaluated in a school-based setting but has provided holistic educational programming in juvenile justice settings, youth and church groups, and community based organizations across the US.

What is the structure of the Nest Program lessons?

The Curriculum consists of 9 evidence-based lessons taught in consecutive sessions that last about 50 minutes. The lessons incorporate dynamic activities, engaging lesson plans, and mindfulness closure activities based on social emotional best practices and trauma-informed principles.

The Curriculum is not split up by grade level and has been used either across a single grade (for example, in all 10th grade health classes) or across a single elective (for example, in all mixed-grade advisory classes or health classes).

Who is the intended audience for the Nest Program for Healthy Relationships?

Sexual violence can happen to any child in any community. To tackle this, we have developed our curriculum to strengthen protective factors for all children and young people. The curricula are inclusive of all demographic groups - race, LGBTQ+, socioeconomic - with strong evidence of positive impact on all students. Evaluation data from some of our district-wide implementations show that 10% of the students taught identified as a gender other than cis; 41% were students of color; 35% identified as LBGTQ+.

The Nest Program has three primary audiences:
•  Students who are taught the Nest Program for Healthy Relationships Curriculum. This program is intended to be taught with students at the 7th-12th grade levels.
•  Teachers and Counselors who are trained to deliver the curriculum and provide student support.
•  Parents and Caregivers who are invited to participate in optional Nest Family Nights.


In addition, Nest offers training to school staff including school resource officers, nurses, and administrators to strengthen school climate and disclosure protocols. We also support parents and caregivers, educators, and professionals who work with students in response to child sexual violence, with offerings including trainings, technical and programmatic support, and trauma-informed resources.

Are the instructional materials available as print copies only, digital access only, or both?

During a Nest Program training, educators are given access to an online portal that contains lesson plans and handouts, powerpoints, video clips, supplemental articles, and support resources.
Nest can tailor resources for school districts, for example by including district-specific reporting protocols and resources, at the request of district leadership.

Does the Nest Program align to any Health or Science standards?

The Nest Program for Healthy Relationships aligns with The National Health Standards and many additional state Health Standards.

Request the Curriculum

Interested in bringing the Nest Curriculum to your School or Organization? Fill out the form below and a Nest representative will reach out to you soon.

Unique Features
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