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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Four Reasons to Take an IMPACT Chicago Course

I call these “The Four S’s of IMPACT Chicago”:

Skills. Of course, the big reason to take an IMPACT Chicago class is for the life-saving skills you’ll acquire: not just fighting skills (although you’ll gain plenty of those), but also the skill to avoid a fight, to drive away a potential attacker with the power of your presence and/or the
strength of your voice.

Safety. IMPACT Chicago’s courses are built around safety. Not only are the instructors committed to keeping everyone injury-free during class, but they also understand that the course can elicit some intense emotions, and they do a great job of building a safe environment for students to experience whatever feelings come up.

Supportiveness. Every organization has a “culture,” and IMPACT Chicago’s is a culture of supportiveness. From start to finish, an IMPACT class revolves around supporting each woman or girl, wherever she may be on her unique life-journey.

Solidarity. I was going to say “Sisterhood,” but that doesn’t capture the full spirit of IMPACT. IMPACT Chicago is about women and men working together to eradicate violence against women; and the sense of solidarity that develops in an IMPACT course is an amazing and wonderful thing to be part of!

Amy Voege
2010 IMPACT graduate
IMPACT Chicago Board member

Monday, March 21, 2011

Voice, Confidence, Power: Make Women’s History

Speak Out! Take Leadership! Stand up for Yourself! There have always been women who have spoken out against injustice, taken leadership, and stood up for themselves. There have also been women who were denied the tools they needed to speak out, to lead, and to fight back.

In honor of March as Women’s History Month, IMPACT Chicago celebrates all the women who have lived before us who did what they could with the tools they had and we promise to do all we can to create opportunities for women and girls now and in the future to find their voices, confidence, and power.

Throughout history, mothers and fathers have struggled to provide their daughters with tools to take care of themselves and sometimes daughters have blazed a trail for their mothers. Victoria Herbert of Chicago says “My daughter insisted that I take IMPACT because she wanted me to experience the feeling of empowerment and confidence that the program had instilled in her. I am so glad that I did! The instructors, assistants, and other students were so supportive and it truly proved to be a life changing (and empowering!) experience for me.”

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rob Babcock, IMPACT Chicago Instructor and Board Member

Rob Babcock came to IMPACT Chicago in 1999, determined to “make a difference in preventing violence against women.” In addition to his work as an Instructor and as an Instructor Trainer, he has served on IMPACT Chicago’s Board of Directors for more than ten years. “I like working on the ‘front lines’ of the movement to prevent violence against women,” he says. “I enjoy thinking that, after a student leaves a class I have helped to teach, she is more confident and capable of defending herself.”

One of the most effective
aspects of IMPACT, he feels, is that it teaches practical, safe self-defense tools designed around the innate strengths of women and girls.

When he’s not donning a mugger helmet, Rob
works as an educational administrator. He also pursues his recently-discovered passion for theatre. Over the past 4 ½ years, he has performed in approximately fifteen plays, and he’s “always looking for more.”


Being an ally and advocate for women is deeply rewarding for Rob. “In working for IMPACT, I
gain much more than I give,” he says. And his ultimate goal? “I’d like for there to be a day in the near future when no one knows what a rape whistle was used for.” Rob was interviewed by Amy Voege, IMPACT grad and board member

Monday, March 7, 2011

What do Class Assistants Do?

IMPACT class assistants are an additional resource for women in the Core Program. They participate in creating an emotionally and physically safe environment in some of the ways listed below:
• Make sure the space is safe, such as clean and secure mats.
• Follow the lead of the female instructor.
• Project a warm, supportive demeanor.
• Exhibit competency and 100% commitment in scenarios, drills, and other physical work.
• Listen in a nonjudgmental way.
• Observe women on the line and in drill groups and notify instructors if anything is unusually stressful for a class participant.
• Videotape each mugging so that instructors can track the progress of each woman and the participants can see the development of their own self-defense skills.
• Keep records of any injuries in the class.

Class assistant leadership for course tasks
The female instructor is the team leader, but the suited instructors and class assistants also take leadership for different aspects of the course. Class assistants take leadership in:
Make sure a box of tissues (the symbol for the importance of feelings) is available
Post direction signs
Nametags
Distribute, collect, and organize paperwork
Duct tape students with injuries
Make sure students' jewelry is removed
Write up injury records during class-if someone was injured and how
Video the scenarios
Set up TV/VCR for viewing
Set up and dismantle mats with the help of others
Wash mats first day of class and other times if needed
Duct tape mats if needed

Are you interested in becoming a class assistant? E-mail naomi@impactchicago.org to learn more!