Monday, June 24, 2013

Finding My Voice

The IMPACT Core Program was highly recommended to me by 4 former participants of the program, when I moved from rural Iowa to attend graduate school in Chicago. Loyola University School of Social Work added its voice of encouragement to take an IMPACT class at our school orientation. I recognized the need to take this program, but I did not take it until after I graduated and began working at St. Leonard’s Ministries in Chicago. My work as the Director of Education for the High School Program requires me to work evenings. Due to the location and late hours, I knew I needed to take an IMPACT course. The opportunity came when 2 graduates from IMPACT offered to pay for me to take the course.

I have always had a degree of trust, but I am not streetwise. After my move to Chicago, I began to recognize a level of fear and caution within myself whenever I rode the L, walked the streets in the evenings or when alone in my home. As an older adult, I have some physical limitations and I knew I did not have the ability to escape or run away from a pursuer. Now that I have taken the Core Program, I can walk the streets, ride the L or be alone in my apartment without fear. I know I have the skills and training to protect and defend myself. Fortunately, I have not had to use my self-defense training against an assailant.

I believe the biggest element that is imprinted in me from the Core Program was finding and using my voice. I am grateful for the intense, physically and emotionally demanding program of IMPACT and I will carry with me this powerful, transformative experience.

Sharlyn , IMPACT graduate

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