Discover Lasell

An Unsung Hero

June 10, 2019

David Sheehan '19 | Courtesy of Lasell AthleticsDavid Sheehan graduated from Lasell College just a few weeks ago. His bachelor's degree in criminal justice was one of many accolades he would receive this month - including the Yeardley Reynolds Love (YRL) Unsung Hero Award.

Sheehan is one of six nationwide winners of the YRL Unsung Hero Award presented by the One Love Foundation, the national leader in teaching young people about relationship health. Since 2011, the award has celebrated accomplishments of student-athletes who have helped their teams achieve success on and off the field. Six students are chosen annually from Divisions I, II, and III of the NCAA for their athleticism, community service, leadership, kindness, and sportsmanship - all traits that characterized the award's namesake. 

"I'm very humbled," said Sheehan. "I have to give credit to Professor Karin Raye who had a huge influence on me. Lasell is incredibly accepting with regard to this topic and if I went to another school I don't know if this would have happened. My coach encouraged me every step of the way and for that I am incredibly grateful."

During Sheehan's freshman year on the Lasell College lacrosse team, he and his teammates were trained on awareness of dating violence and healthy relationships. The following spring, they partnered with Raye to take the White Ribbon pledge, which asks men to pledge to "never commit, condone, or stay silent about violence against women."  

In Sheehan's sophomore year, Professor Raye brought Take Back the Night, a national event to raise awareness about domestic abuse and violence, to the Lasell campus. This was a turning point for Sheehan. Hearing the stories on Lasell's campus really hit home for him. He asked Raye to speak at the event in the following year, and extended his passion for the issue through two directed studies under the direction of Professor Raye.

"While at Lasell College, David exemplified compassion, courage, and leadership through his work, elevating our campus climate with respect to sexual and domestic violence," said Raye. 

"He recognized the power in educating athletes and engaging them as leaders so that they could unite as a team to collectively raise awareness and effectuate change. He quickly expanded his work by partnering with faculty, administration and his peers to educate the whole campus, stepping up to play an instrumental and impactful role in each of Lasell's prevention campaigns," she said. 

"David led by example as a role model and advocate, both by empowering survivors and engaging in uncomfortable and critically important conversations with his peers about power, control, accountability, and behavior change."

David Sheehan '19 on the field | Courtesy of Lasell Athletics

As a two-time lacrosse captain, Sheehan challenged his team to address abusive behavior on campus and step up as active bystanders to enhance the safety of the Lasell community.   

The One Love Foundation was founded to honor Yeardley Reynolds Love, a senior at the University of Virginia whose life was tragically cut short when she was killed by her ex-boyfriend. After her death, her family learned that better education about unhealthy relationships could have saved her life. Today, One Love is the national leader in educating young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships through powerful workshops and thought-provoking social media campaigns that open people's eyes to abuse.