Yards for Yeardley raises awareness on dating violence, Safe Trax will host workshop next month

Staff Reports

February is National Dating Violence Awareness Month and Utica College’s Safe Trax program will soon announce dates for One Love workshops that will educate young people on the healthy and unhealthy relationships. 

The One Love Foundation was founded after the death of Yeardley Love, a student and lacrosse player from the University of Virginia who was murdered by her former dating partner just weeks before graduation. One Love focuses on education and awareness about intimate partner violence.

One Love’s Escalation Workshop is an impactful event to bring attention to intimate partner violence and recognize warning signs, healthy and unhealthy relationship traits and provide real tools to intervene, Safe Trax Program Director Jennifer Jones said. 

On Oct. 22, Utica College Safe Trax and the women’s lacrosse team hosted the Yards for Yeardley event, also created by the One Love Foundation. 

Yards for Yeardley is a way to create awareness around intimate partner violence and educate the college community. The goal of the event is to pledge yards completed on a track or field to the mission of prevention, education and awareness. It also serves as a way for the community to recognize victims of intimate partner violence and pledge yardage in tribute or memory of them.

Utica College’s Yard for Yeardley event was held in the Dome and participants ran, skipped and walked their way to pledge 224,412 yards, roughly 520 laps, Jones said. 

“The Yards for Yeardley event at Utica College made a great impact and will continue to grow to spread awareness and promote healthy relationships,” Jones said. “I was very proud to see members of our community contribute their time and energy to such a worthy cause.”

Luminaries were placed around the track in memory or tribute to those who have survived or fell victim to intimate partner violence. Participants were able to create cards to share a message of hope to survivors who work with Safe Trax or the YWCA of Mohawk Valley. The YWCA of Mohawk Valley provided resources and promotional items to support the event and participants.

Two awards were given to recognize the team or organization with the most yardage and the single participant with the most yardage. The Utica College women’s lacrosse team received the first award, with 86,328 yards pledged by the team. The individual award was a three-way tie between members of Chi Beta Sigma Sorority, Dayna Losito, Shaleigh Kenealy and Bianca Bochkous. They each contributed 18,748 yards.

Safe Trax is a grant-funded program made possible through a 2019 Campus Grant awarded by The US Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women.