Category: Prevention Project

Two Prevention Project Teachers Win National Award

Jeannine Chewning and Colleen Savino, two Humanities teachers at Hermitage High School in Henrico, Virginia, have been chosen to receive the 2015 Robert H. Jackson Center National Award for Teaching Justice. This prestigious award is granted to individuals who make outstanding efforts to teach justice in their classrooms in creative, inspiring ways – which these teachers have done through the implementation of the Prevention Project® program.

Jeannine and Colleen piloted Richmond Justice Initiative’s Prevention Project program in 2012 at Hermitage High School, and this year is their fourth year teaching the material to their students.

Colleen Savino emphasized the importance of the Prevention Project curriculum, saying, “Human trafficking is a huge issue; look at the stats, look at the figures-it affects young people. As with anything that affects young people, it is our job as a country, as a society, as a community, and as teachers to educate them about that.”

The RJI team threw a celebration event to honor this noteworthy award in the Hermitage High School library on October 27, 2015 with Hermitage HS students, teachers, and staff; Dr. Patrick C. Kinlaw, superintendent of Henrico County Public Schools; RJI team members; and other distinguished guests present.

See what leaders are saying about the program and why this opportunity is invaluable for students:

HCPS is very proud to have The Prevention Project in our schools as it teaches our students about a very important issue that can affect them. Furthermore, the curriculum allows our students to use 21st Century skills to help combat human trafficking.”
-Dr. Patrick C. Kinlaw, superintendent of Henrico County Public Schools

Prevention is one of the biggest parts of fighting human trafficking especially because traffickers target teens and preteens, so youth need to know what to expect and what to be looking out for.”
-Holly Austin Smith, Survivor of Child Sex Trafficking and Author of Walking Prey

Jessica Willis, RJI’s Director of Prevention Education expressed, “This national award honors the commitment of Jeannine and Colleen, who have gone above and beyond in providing anti-trafficking opportunities to their students through petitioning for important legislation at the Virginia Capital, creating community awareness events, and writing op-eds for the local newspaper, etc. Jeannine and Colleen are making a huge impact in the lives of their students and we celebrate this momentous achievement.”

For more information and to get the Prevention Project program in your area, please visit

Watch the news story by WWBT NBC12 HERE.

Group Award{Pictured above: Jeannine Chewning and Colleen Savino, Hermitage HS teachers pictured with their students who went through the Prevention Project program. Photos by RJI’s Joell Masiano.}

Group{Pictured above: Jessica Willis, RJI Director of Prevention Education; Michael Hasley, Henrico County Secondary Social Studies Specialist‎; Andy Armstrong, Hermitage HS principal; Jeannine Chewning and Colleen Savino, Hermitage HS Prevention Project teachers; Dr. Patrick C. Kinlaw, superintendent of Henrico County Public Schools.}

Education Unlocks Freedom

“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” -George Washington Carver

I never knew about human trafficking.” “Knowing that people my age, people younger are the target for all of this, it hurts”. These and many other similar sentiments are echoed in the classroom as teenage students learn about the facts and lures of teen human trafficking through RJI’s Prevention Project program.

Many ask how we can prevent human trafficking. As many survivors of human trafficking have said, it is so important to understand how traffickers lure teens into trafficking situations, because once you know the signs, you can help yourself and others in your school, church, and community not fall prey and know what to do when trafficking does occur in our communities. The purpose of the Prevention Project is to prevent trafficking from occurring and to help those who are currently in a trafficking situation. By equipping students, teachers, and counselors with the educational tools needed to understand, identify, and safely report trafficking situations, we use education as the tool to ‘unlock the golden door of freedom’.

We celebrate as many schools will be teaching the Prevention Project at their schools this fall: Hermitage High School, Godwin High School, Goochland High School, to name a few local schools. RJI is also in process of working with and reaching out to many other local schools as well as schools in multiple states. To find out more information and to get the Prevention Project program into schools in your community, please contact Jessica at

I don’t know where I would be now without The Prevention Project! The Prevention Project is probably the most life-altering thing that has happened to me so far.” –Prevention Project student

Written by: Jessica Willis
Richmond Justice Initiative Prevention Project Manager

Prevention Project Classroom
{Above pictures © A Girl Named Leney, Prevention Project year three students}