It’s Time to Protect Youth Athletes…and MBF can help!

Olympic gold medalist Shannon Miller and former WNBA President Donna Orender co-chaired the committee to develop the MBF abuse prevention education program for youth athletes.

The Monique Burr Foundation for Children Team is now proud to announce the official launch of MBF Athlete Safety Matters®.

It’s the moment many parents dream of, especially if they were athletes – registration day or tryouts for youth sports. And while youth sports should be a place where children foster friendships, learn teamwork, personal achievement, endurance, strength and flexibility, it can also be a place where children become victims of abuse or bullying.

Just as parents are expected to trust our child’s school teacher, we are also expected to trust our children’s coaches who often times parents know little about. What are your local sports organizations doing to ensure all young athletes are safe from harm? One out of four children will be victimized before the age of 18. Research shows that 75 percent of athletes report experiencing some type of abuse while participating in youth sports. Think of it this way, on a team of 12, three teammates will face physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

Whether you are a parent, coach, team manager or administrator here’s something you need to know:


“We’ve come a long way with regard to safety equipment – it’s now time to tackle all forms of abuse head on, without hesitation and without distraction,” said Shannon Miller, MBF board member and seven-time Olympic medalist in gymnastics. “As an athlete and as a mother, I know what a positive role sports can play in a child’s life. The answer isn’t to keep our children away from the incredible benefits of youth sports, it’s to educate and empower all children through youth sports.”

The MBF Athlete Safety Matters®  program can help protect youth athletes from being victimized, both while participating in youth sports and outside of youth sports. So, the MBF team is proud to launch MBF Athlete Safety Matters and wants to ensure every youth athlete receives this critical safety information.

The program provides two lessons to be presented to youth athletes in grade-level groups (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12) by trained facilitators, and teaches 5 Safety Rules that can be used in any unsafe situation:

  • Safety Rule #1 – Know What’s Up
  • Safety Rule #2 – Spot Red Flags
  • Safety Rule #3 – Make a Move
  • Safety Rule #4 – Talk It Up
  • Safety Rule #5 – No Blame | No Shame

 “Taking training from the classroom where more than 3 million children and teens have been reached through our programs MBF Child Safety Matters® and MBF Teen Safety Matters® – to our courts, our fields, our gyms – is a natural progression of what we’re doing to keep children safe,” said Donna Orender, MBF board member and former WNBA President.

The MBF Athlete Safety Matters program is an addition to MBF’s already successful comprehensive, evidence-based and evidence-informed programs. To date, more than 3.5 million children and teens have been reached in classroom settings, and now that extends to sports programs to protect youth athletes. All MBF Prevention Education Programs educate and empower youth to prevent, recognize, and respond appropriately to the four types of child abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, and neglect), exploitation, bullying, cyberbullying and digital dangers. The MBF Athlete Safety Matters program meets the legislative requirement of the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 for athlete prevention education.

“Confirmed abuse cases involving athlete victims continue to make headlines across the country. MBF developed a program specifically for youth athletes based on the research and successful implementations of our school-based programs,” said Lynn Layton, President and CEO of MBF. “It is our hope that we can work with sports organizations to help them allow athletes to continue to enjoy sports in a safe environment.  Prevention education must be the norm in every home, every school, every sports venue, and every community.”

To learn more about the program, please visit

What They're Saying...

There’s not a child in the world who can’t benefit from this program. There are so many instances where we see children who have been damaged and hurt. Things happened to them and we think, if they’d only had this program, if they’d only had the benefit of this education, that might not have happened to them. If we can prevent that from happening to a single child, then it’s worth all the effort we have put forth.

The MBF Teen Safety Matters curriculum hosts an in-depth approach to important social and safety concerns relevant to youth. The program content is age-appropriate with engaging activities, jargon, and realistic situations to positively promote a relatable and impacting learning experience…Teen Safety Matters is an educational benefit to all parties involved – students, parents, facilitators, and schools.

The MBF Child Safety Matters program is impressive. This important information is well formulated and well presented, developmentally appropriate, and based on good understanding of literature.

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