Malden, Massachusetts – With generous support from the Cummings Foundation and their $100k for 100 initiative, Triangle, Inc.’s (Triangle) IMPACT program is proud to provide abuse prevention and safety education to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in seven schools within Middlesex and Essex counties.
Triangle is a nonprofit organization that provides support to individuals with disabilities and members of other marginalized or underserved communities. IMPACT operates IMPACT:Ability, which helps individuals with disabilities gain the verbal and physical safety skills they need to protect themselves from violence. The Cummings Foundation awards $10 million each year through the $100K for 100 grant program. This place-based philanthropic initiative primarily supports nonprofits in the Massachusetts counties where the Foundation and its founders originally derived their funds and where staff and clients of the Cummings organization live – Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk Counties.
One of the leading challenges faced by individuals with disabilities is the high rates of abuse and violence they routinely face throughout their daily lives. Individuals with intellectual disabilities – both women and men – are likely to experience sexual abuse at rates more than seven times higher than those without disabilities. These issues are even worse for school-aged youth. Students with disabilities are three times as likely as those without to be bullied at school. IMPACT:Ability is one of the few programs that is currently addressing this silent epidemic and is uniquely positioned to respond to the epidemic levels of violence and abuse against people with disabilities. It is the only known evidence-based abuse prevention program for people with disabilities available in Massachusetts.
Support from the Cummings Foundation will be used to provide IMPACT:Ability trainings to public high schools in Medford, Wakefield, Stoneham, Beverly, Woburn, Somerville, and Cambridge – 14 classes to a total of 168 students. Students served by this program will be chosen from special education classrooms, where they will meet once per week over a ten-week timespan. The curriculum consists of hands-on, role-play scenarios in which students learn self-protection skills for situations that include: bullying, dating violence, sexual assault, hate crimes, harassment, and abduction. The trainings help improve their personal safety knowledge, self-efficacy, use of self-protective behaviors, and use of assertive communication skills. In previous classes, the majority of students indicated that they would report unsafe situations to a trusted adult, increasing self-protective behaviors such as saying “no” when they were uncomfortable.
IMPACT:Ability instructors are excited to expand these much-needed services to a greater number of students throughout the region. As Dr. Kenneth Salim, Superintendent of the Cambridge Public Schools, shares:
“We are so pleased to be working with IMPACT:Ability thanks to this grant. There is nothing more important than equipping students with the skills they need to keep themselves safe. The research-based, specialized instruction available through this partnership will bring greater confidence and peace of mind to participating students and their families.”
Founded in 1971, Triangle, Inc. was established by residents of Malden, Medford, and Everett, Massachusetts who believed people with disabilities had the potential to hold steady jobs and lead more independent, fulfilling lives. Today, Triangle is a nonprofit organization that serves over 3,700 people from 105 communities with offices in Salem, Malden, Boston, Brockton and Randolph.