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FEARLESS FOUNDATION

At the FEARLESS FOUNDATION, our mission is to shine a light on the darkness that is child sexual abuse. Through education and sport, we strive to enrich the lives of survivors, transforming their lives and the world we share.

Our work is guided by two principles.

EDUCATION

The foundation is focused on educational tools that empower survivors to come forward and seek help. We openly discuss and share about the common signs of child sexual abuse, leading to a world where every child can be safe and happy. 

HEALTH & WELLNESS

Through sports - like Judo, our foundation is designing a health and wellness program that will support survivors in achieving physical and emotional strength resulting in increased self-confidence and mastery. 

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Founder Kayla Harrison

Kayla Harrison began training in judo at age six and is the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in the sport, which she did in 2012 and 2016. Yet her competitive success masked an unimaginable personal struggle. At the age of 16, she revealed that her coach had sexually abused her for years.

 

Today, Kayla uses her gold medal and MMA World Champion profile, voice, and example, as well as her Fearless Foundation, to encourage and empower other survivors of child sexual abuse. Now retired from competing in judo, Kayla is a mixed martial artist with the Professional Fighters League and two-time PFL World Champion, holding back-to-back titles. She trains at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. 

As an individual, she climbed a personal peak that only a few years prior seemed insurmountable. At the age of 16, Kayla revealed that for years, she had been sexually abused by her judo coach. Her revelation turned her world upside down. Kayla pressed charges, and a federal criminal prosecution followed. Kayla moved from her home and family in Ohio to Massachusetts to live and train with Jimmy Pedro and his father “Big Jim.” They became her coaches and surrogate family. As a teenager, Kayla was made to rebuild her life in a new place surrounded by new people. Her Olympic Gold Medals represent a high point in her athletic accomplishments but don’t begin to tell Kayla’s story of personal triumph.

Kayla’s messages of belief in oneself, perseverance amidst obstacles, setting and reaching goals, and peak performance have captivated audiences from community groups, high schools, colleges, women’s groups, and Fortune 500 companies. Kayla is a sought-after speaker on the topic of child sexual abuse, its warning signs, and proof that with the right help, anything is possible.

Some of Kayla's Most Notable speaking engagements audiences are:

  • The Florida Department of Child Welfare

  • Liberty Mutual Insurance

  • Maximized Living, Inc.

  • Big Sister Association of Massachusetts

  • The Ohio MED Foundation

  • Franklin & Marshall College

  • Massachusetts Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children

  • Metropolitan State University Denver

  • Rosie’s Place Boston

  • The Haverhill Chamber of Commerce

  • Family Resources, Inc. of Pennsylvania

  • The Massachusetts Dental Society

  • Boston Children’s Hospital

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