Monday, June 27, 2011

Continuing Education Credits for IMPACT Chicago Core Program

Under current professional requirements, all Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) must earn 30 continuing education credit hours every two years. Completion of IMPACT’s intense self-defense training program now furnishes LCSWs with 18 of those credit hours.
“Quite a few social workers have participated in our training over the years,” says IMPACT instructor Margaret Vimont, herself an LCSW. “Time and again, they affirm that discovering a sense of their own power through IMPACT has helped them immeasurably in their work with clients who have been touched by violence. It really gives them a different lens through which to see clients who are struggling with a lack of personal and physical power in their own lives.” Vimont, who walked into her first IMPACT class in 1988, currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Chicago-based nonprofit agency Jewish Child & Family Services, as well as instructing a Tae Kwon Do program as a fourth degree black belt.
Mary Reynolds, Licensed Clinical Social Work, shares what IMPACT training meant to her. I've been to a LOT of professional development trainings in the past, but few (if any!) compare to the IMPACT Core Program I took in March 2010. My primary work is with adults and children who have experienced or witnessed domestic, sexual and/or community violence. While tremendously rewarding, this work is also quite emotionally taxing. It can be difficult to sustain my own personal feelings of safety in the face of so much violence, and maintaining hopefulness is a challenge when violence almost seems inevitable.”
“I also do a lot of home- and community-based work, and was finding myself feeling isolated, fearful and unsafe. I challenged myself to find a way to confront and sort through those feelings, and so signed up for the IMPACT Chicago Core Program. IMPACT was enriching, both professionally and personally. I am more confident in myself on many levels: I now know that I can set and stick to firm boundaries (even if I'm trembling on the inside), that I can communicate my needs with conviction, and that, if I need to, I can defend myself physically. I'm much stronger than I ever even knew I was--both emotionally and physically--and I'm grateful to have discovered that. These are skills I will help my clients unearth and embrace as they discover their own immense, innate strength. I fully intend to recommend IMPACT to clients in the future. Honestly, the training was amazing enough on its own to be truly life-changing. 18 CEUs are just icing on an already incredible cake. Thanks, IMPACT!”

Cathie Bazzon
IMPACT Core Program grad
Rogers Park Community Council
Director, Senior Initiatives Program

Monday, June 20, 2011

Why I signed up for IMPACT: Part 2

"On day two of the IMPACT Core Program, I’m surprised at just how much I don’t want to be there. Everything in my body is screaming to go back home. All that was cycling through my head is how much “I don’t want to fight anybody anymore.” I feel like I’ve been fighting off people my whole life, and now this group of random women is asking me to purposely put myself in somewhat violent situations, all, day, long. Not my idea of a good time. But on some level the resistance is instructive..."
In part two of her IMPACT story, Alex talks about her time at IMPACT and what she learned about herself. To read more, visit her blog, South Side Scholar "On Taking a Women's Self-Defense Class, part 2"

Do you have an IMPACT story to share? E-mail us!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Why I signed up for IMPACT: Part 1

"A couple of months ago I visited New Orleans with some girlfriends for the Essence Music Festival. It was my first time to NOLA, and overall we had a fabulous time. But on my last night there, I had an unfortunate encounter..."
In a two part blog entry, Alex shares her experience and how she made her way to IMPACT. Visit her blog, South Side Scholar, to read the first part of her story: "On Taking a Women's Self-Defense Class, part 1"
Many thanks to Alex for sharing her powerful story with us!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Women and Girls Have the Right to Be Safe: Clara Orban, IMPACT Chicago Board Chair

Clara Orban, Ph.D., has been a member of IMPACT Chicago’s Board of Directors since 2004, and currently serves as Board Chair. She also chairs the Executive Committee and the Task Force on Executive Director Transition.
Clara initially came to IMPACT Chicago as a student in 1992, spurred by the need to feel safer as she walked through life. Empowered by her IMPACT training, she immediately became a strong supporter of the organization, working to help other women achieve a sense of protection by building their self-defense skills. IMPACT, she says, shows women and girls that “they have the right to be safe; no one can take that away from them.”
In her life outside IMPACT, Clara is a Professor of French and Italian, and she chairs the Modern Language Department at DePaul University. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Clara enjoys knitting and sewing, two skills which she learned from her mother and which bring back fond memories of their years together. “I think every member of my family now has a scarf I’ve done for them,” she says. Also an inveterate traveler, she has visited all seven continents, but has no intention of slowing down: “There’s still much more out there I’d love to see.”
Clara and her husband of twenty-five years share their home with two “great, time-consuming, but loving” dogs. Her husband has been supportive of IMPACT for as long as she has – “A real partnership!” – and together they work toward a future free of violence against women. “It won’t happen in my lifetime,” she says, “[But] the world will be a wonderful place when women no longer need to defend themselves.”
Bio of Clara by Amy Voege, IMPACT grad and board member