Programming Partner South County: Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Cary Matsuoka

SBUSD LOGOIn 2014-2016, Dr.Cash lead an effort to secure a contract with What is LOVE (WIL) to provide dating violence prevention programming to all district secondary schools. Cary Matsuoka, new district superintendent and school board members unanimously re-approved the contract in November 2017. What is LOVE is contracted to provide every high school in Santa Barbara Unified School District comprehensive tools designed to help teens:

  • Identify and avoid abusive relationships

  • Understand harm caused by unhealthy relationships

  • Build healthy relationships skills

  • Connect to school and community resources

Programs: School-wide Awareness Campaign, Educator Professional Development,  Teen Workshops, Parent Workshops and Crisis Support.

Evaluation Partner: University of Arizona- Dr. Lauren Reed.

Dr. Reed specializes in designing and implementing research evaluations for community and school based programs working to prevent dating violence. Lauren and her University of Arizona research team will lead the next phase of our independent evaluation project to move the What is LOVE curriculum closer to an evidence-based program.

Dr. Reed received her Ph.D. in Social Work and Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan in 2015. Her research interests include gendered violence prevention, youth violence prevention, positive youth development, community-based program evaluation, digital media as a context and tool for dating violence, and youth participatory action research.

Dr. Reed is a member of The International Center for School-Based Youth Development, a community of researchers devoted to developing a better understanding of the ecological influences affecting children’s lives and that promotes academic, social, emotional, and physical well-being. The iCSBYD engages in research that informs educators how to enhance school engagement and thereby promote all students social, emotional, and academic competence.

Programming Partner South County: UCSB Women’s Center Director Briana Conway


Since 2010, Briana has worked with survivors of relationship violence. She joined the CARE team in winter 2014. She has worked with over 200 survivors of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence and stalking. Prior to joining the UCSB team, she worked as a Victim Advocate in Connecticut with a State Wide Coalition, serving survivors and their families. She is committed to ending relationship violence in our community and has worked closely with community-based organizations that are dedicated to early primary prevention.

What is LOVE began its partnership with UCSB Women’s Center in 2013 to recruit psychology and sociology students interested in working in the relationship violence prevention field. Interns participate in a 40-hour intensive training to conduct classroom presentations, lead teen workshops, and help manage teen-led awareness campaigns. Interns receive course credit and are supervised weekly by Christy Stillwell M.A. Psy.

Independent Evaluation Partner: UCSB Dr. Jill Sharkey

UCSB LogoJill’s expertise is in the areas of community evaluation and research designed to understand how schools and other community agencies can successfully engage students who are at-risk of violence and dropout. From 2008-2013 she was co-evaluator of the Safe Schools/Health Students Initiative in Santa Maria. Jill’s experience with complex community programs to enhance safety and reduce violence also includes evaluating the California Public Safety Realignment Act (AB109) for Santa Barbara County Probation Department to reduce recidivism for felony offenders and evaluating three CalGRIP programs (Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Lompoc) for preventing gang activity and violence in Santa Barbara County.

Referral Partner: Community Counseling & Education Center

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We have partnered with Community Counseling’s Clinical Training Program (CTP) to make referrals for youth and families in need of extra support at each high school. CTP is a highly selective, 3-year professional training and education opportunity for qualified graduate student interns and trainees working toward their MFT licensure. CCEC interns and trainees will participate in a professional development training to prepare for working with youth identified as “high risk” for experiencing abusive relationships. Interns and trainees are trained by What is LOVE Director of Prevention, Christy Haynes and are supervised by CCEC’s licensed Core and Adjunct clinical staff in weekly group supervision and topic focused trainings.

Programming Partner: Freed4YOUTH (F4Y)

Freedom for Youth logoYouth involved in the juvenile justice system are particularly susceptible to dating abuse. We have partnered with F4Y who provide direct service programming to Los Prietos Boys Camp, Santa Barbara County Probation, and the Santa Maria Juvenile Hall. F4Y Mentor Advocates are UCSB students trained and supervised by Christy Haynes. The advocates provide positive peer association, mentorship, tutoring, career and educational counseling, in addition to, after-care, re-entry, and support services to youth involved in the juvenile justice system. The goal is to empower recently detained youth to build individual, community, and family protective factors increasing their ability to reintegrate into their community’s successfully.

Programming Partner North County: Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 3.42.39 PMA coalition of dedicated local political and business leaders, governmental and private service agencies, faith groups, youth and parents, who are all committed to serving the children, teens and families of Northern Santa Barbara County. Edwin Weaver, Executive Director, and former social worker has established relationships with North County schools and has staff at key school locations.

We have partnered with Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley to train their school site staff to conduct classroom presentations, lead 6-week intensive workshops, and help create outreach campaigns to youth ages 13 to 18 in Santa Barbara North County on dating violence and healthy relationships.

Anger Management Specialists (AMS)-North & South County

AMS is the Santa Barbara Countywide Counseling Court Certified agency which provides programs to assist individuals, groups, families, couples and teens with anger issues. AMS provides research based and trauma sensitivity approaches to all clientele. AMS also works collaboratively with local counseling agencies and surrounding communities to prevent domestic dating abuse.