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The Green Bear Project Launches High School Prevention Program

Mia Ponder Green Bear Educator Picture 2022

The Green Bear Project launched a new high school prevention program for 9th through 12th graders in area high schools for the 2022-2023 school year. The Green Bear Project was created in 2001 by Leasa Stone with a mission to educate the community about child abuse. Over the past 20 years, Green Bear has educated thousands of adults and kids about the dangers, warning signs, and prevention of child abuse through various programs in southeast Missouri. In 2021, the program educated nearly 15,000 southeast Missouri children through presentations.

Leasa Stone, Prevention Education Coordinator and Green Bear Founder, knows the importance of abuse prevention education. Stone created the program in memory of Baby Ty – a two-year-old who was tragically killed by his biological parents in September 2000 after returning to them from foster care. “This September will mark 22 years since he has passed, but I am happy to know that thousands of area children are being educated every year about abuse prevention and that our program may have stopped abuse from continuing.”

Prior to this year the program educated pre-kindergarten through 8th grade students, but due to demand from area school counselors and Missouri Revised Statutes Section 170.045 RSMo (which requires high schools to provide abuse prevention education to students), the high school program was created. Already for the 2022-2023 school year, Green Bear Educators have 29 high schools in their service region signed up for presentations and the number is continuing to grow! All Green Bear presentations are free to schools and organizations in their nine-county service region.

Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence (SEMO-NASV) coordinates and sponsors The Green Bear Project. “We are just so pleased that area schools and families understand the importance of talking early and often about abuse prevention. This High School Program will continue that messaging and expand it to include age-appropriate topics like sexual harassment, consent, and safe dating practices,” says Kendra Eads, Executive Director of SEMO-NASV.

“We know The Green Bear Programs are working. Children will come into SEMO-NASV for a forensic interview and when we ask what motivated them to tell us about what happened, a lot of them will say “Green Bear came to my school and told me it was ok”,” says Eads, “Adding the High School Program will just better equip our area youth.”

If you’d like to see if the Green Bear Project is being offered at your school, please contact Leasa Stone at For more information about The Green Bear Program, please visit, or SEMO-NASV, at If you have or are experiencing sexual violence, you can call SEMO-NASV’s 24-hour crisis hotline at (877) 820-6278.