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Self-Defense Classes Designed to Empower High School Girls

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Self-Defense Classes Designed to Empower High School Girls
Posted on 04/29/2016
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A Painting for a Purpose Grant will enable 12 girls from Portland’s public high schools to take self-defense classes at the Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS). The classes are designed to empower girls and build their confidence.

The $360 grant sponsors 12 girls from PPS’ three high schools to take a series of self-defense classes offered by Rape Aggression Defense or R.A.D. (a program of the Portland Police Department) at PATHS free of charge. The classes are being offered in May and June.

The daily life of high school students in Portland includes navigating the challenges of a small urban city. High schoolers are experiencing independence in new and exciting ways but that can present new situations to navigate.

For example, high schoolers are becoming new drivers, getting jobs, and many are taking public transportation for the first time. High schoolers are driving alone, driving with friends, using parking areas, and waiting at bus stops.

The self-defense class offered by R.A.D. will help the girls get the skills and confidence to successfully navigate all these new experiences.  The hope is that by making students more aware of the proactive things they can do to be safe, people will see the value of the classes and help more students get access to them.

“The grant is student-driven,” explained Jill Irving, PATHS woodworking instructor. “The girls talk about the new challenges of the METRO, driving alone, being more independent and also being able to take care of themselves, and we tried to figure out what they could do. I remember being offered classes like this when I was in high school and asked the girls if they wanted to write a grant so they could help other girls as well as themselves.”

Painting for a Purpose is a local organization that funds youth-led initiatives in the Portland Public Schools that make a difference in the community.