Emily Kolodka Neuroscience Intern, The Avielle Foundation Biochemistry Junior, Middlebury College [email protected]
Here at TAF, we’re committed to preventing violence and promoting brain health through research and community education. What goes into preventing violence, however, is more than just eliminating its risk factors; it’s identifying and building protective factors that lead to kindness, connection, and compassion as well. We’re not only talking about ways to prevent violence, but taking time to appreciate nutrition and fitness because of the strong connections between brain health and healthy, fit bodies, and with satisfaction with life. With this in mind, we wanted to take a scientific approach to the commonly held belief that exercise – particularly playing sports – is one of the protective factors we’re looking to encourage. Often we hear parents explain that they encourage organized sports for their children to “keep them out of trouble.” But does it actually prevent violence?
There is clear evidence that the physical fitness derived through sports participation has many benefits.
We are very excited to introduce a pilot after school program brought to us by Cody Foss in partnership with Ben’s Lighthouse, the NYA Sports and Fitness, and The Avielle Foundation’s Spark Project. Newtown Reed Intermediate School 5th and 6th grade student’s are eligible. Don’t miss out – space is limited to 30 students for this pilot … Read moreSpark After School Program
Today’s Wall Street Journal features an article on The Avielle Foundation, and touches upon our efforts to reduce future incidences of violence through brain health research: “Dr. Richman, 43 years old, is a neuropharmacologist and senior fellow at Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical company. Ms. Hensel, 47, has worked in regulatory medical writing, preparing reports on clinical-trial … Read moreThe Avielle Foundation Profiled in the Wall Street Journal
The Avielle Foundation’s objectives are twofold: promoting and supporting research on brain health to prevent violence and building community to foster connectivity and empathy. This two-pronged approach to better health has been shown to be successful by many other wellness advocacy organizations, all of whom owe a debt to Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She created an organization that has raised a tremendous amount of money for research, but to do so she first brought breast cancer out of the shadows by helping families, health care providers, and the media shine a light on the disease and its effects.
At the time of Komen for the Cure’s first fundraiser, in 1982, the local reporter covering the event struggled to convince her editors that her news story should include the word “breast” and not just refer to some unnamed “women’s cancer.” This reluctance to acknowledge female biology was typical, and meant that women and their families suffered in silence. Survivors were afraid to reveal the scars of breast cancer on their bodies, and those that had lost loved ones could not truly describe their mothers’, sisters’, or daughters’ suffering for fear of offending. If cancer was a word whispered in polite company, breast cancer was not uttered at all.
Nancy Brinker realized that raising enough money to find a cure could happen only if society was comfortable talking about breast health. She sought media attention for her work; cultivated support from high-profile women like Betty Ford and Happy Rockefeller, who had been open about their diagnosis and treatment; and advocated loudly for breast cancer, as the number two killer of women, to become a priority of policymakers and cancer researchers. She had facts and figures on her side, and coupled the statistics with personal stories from women across the country.
In addition, she ensured that the foundation’s work was inclusive of all types of breast cancer patients, from all walks of life (including men). She knew that the pervasiveness of the disease, while devastating, was also the aspect that could ensure the foundation’s success. She felt there was literally no one who did not fit the profile of a potential foundation supporter, because there was literally no one who did not potentially have someone in their life affected by breast cancer. In the early days of the foundation, she found it possible to work a pitch for a contribution into every conversation she had.