A New Way to Spread Love

Yeardley Love

The One Love Foundation is a national leader in relationship education, and was set up in 2010 to honor Yeardley Love, a senior at University of Virginia who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend just weeks before her graduation. Many believe that if the people closest to Yeardley had understood the signs of an unhealthy and abusive relationship, the incident could have been prevented. The One Love Foundation educates people and communities regarding the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships through workshops, with the ultimate goal of preventing future incidents like that of Yeardley Love. The organization also spreads awareness through events and campaigns like the #LoveBetter movement, which urges people to work on improving their relationships. The campaign was recently launched through a Valentine’s pop-up shop in SoHo that featured products meant to both represent an unhealthy relationship and inspire couples to open up and improve the way they express their love. One particular item was a mood-swing-prone teddy bear that, when squeezed, would initially express something negative rather than saying, “I love you.” The bear would subsequently explain that what it said was hurtful and would demonstrate a superior method to resolve the problem—ultimately providing a lesson on how to “love better.” One Love’s CEO Katie Hood, who had a personal connection to Yeardley, tells us more about the organization and the new campaign below.

Why did you get involved with the One Love Foundation?

Yeardley’s cousin is one of my closet friends and I was the first person through her kitchen door after I heard the news that Yeardley was dead. A million things ran through my head about what had happened but it never occurred to me that it was relationship abuse. As a friend of the family, I know firsthand they were absolutely stunned—they had no idea that she’d been in an abusive relationship, and truly thought she must have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, as time passed, they realized there had been signs that Yeardley’s relationship was unhealthy and increasingly dangerous, but no one truly understood what they were seeing. If people in her life had been educated about these signs, steps might have been taken to save her life. The idea of taking a preventative approach to ending abuse by educating young people about the signs of healthy vs. unhealthy relationship behaviors was so exciting to me. 

What recent news would you like to share about One Love?

Right now we are focusing on showing people how to #LoveBetter. In a world dominated by stories of how poorly people are treating one another, #LoveBetter is designed to help us focus on how we can build and be part of a healthier world by focusing on the quality and health of our own relationships. Our core belief at One Love is that love is a skill that we can all improve.  By educating people about healthy relationships we can change social norms, and ultimately the stats around abuse of every kind. #LoveBetter was inspired by the desire to empower everyone to learn more about these healthy relationship behaviors and commit to being healthier in their own relationships. Our hope is that #LoveBetter encourages everyone to be more mindful and intentional when it comes to their relationships and that if each of us does this daily, we might just be able to achieve real societal change.

Tell me more about the Valentine’s Day pop-up. 

The New York City store concept presented an awesome opportunity to introduce the #LoveBetter campaign to the world  and we hope that, like our other campaigns,  it will really resonate with people in a way that makes them want to share with their friends. Those who were unable to visit the store should watch the campaign video, which still communicates a powerful message that is worth passing on. They key takeaway message is that love is a skill we can all work on and by educating the next generation about how to build healthy relationships—something current generations have never have never experienced in a scaled way—we can change the statistics around abuse of every kind.

How can our readers get involved with the organization?

I hope that people first and foremost pause to think about what loving better means to them—that they start the conversation with themselves. The pop-up was deliberately surprising to make people think, and I hope that lasts. I also hope that people go to joinonelove.org to learn more and take the pledge to #LoveBetter. We’ve built an incredible foundation of film-based educational tools that anyone anywhere can use to learn more and teach others.