Janesville high school holds safety workshop for girls

Janesville high school holds safety workshop for girls

Around 60 high school girls and their moms or female mentors participated in a self-defense and safety workshop Saturday morning.

Officers from the Janesville Police Department led the self-defense portion, which is based on the SAFE Program from the National Self-Defense Institute. The acronym stands for self-defense, awareness, familiarization and exchange.

“It’s very, very important for, especially college girls, going off to college, maybe the first time away from home, and it’s just kind of a refresher to kind of try to keep themselves safe,” Brian Donohoue, safety consultant for the School District of Janesville and retired police officer, said.

The workshop also had sessions on internet safety, financial security and landlord-tenant rights.

Senior Madison Garvin and her mom, Julie, were among the mother-daughter pairs who participated.

“I’m just hoping I learn some skills that I can take with me when I go off to college that’ll help me if I ever get into a situation that I’m not necessarily comfortable in or skills that I can share with my friends if they are in a situation they’re not comfortable in,” Madison said.

Julie Garvin said she has an older daughter in college now and thought it would be good for Madison to have some safety training before she heads off to college too.

“I want her to have a renewed sense of confidence in herself and to be able to stand up for herself and be assertive,” Garvin said.

This first-of-its-kind training is unique because it lets the moms learn right alongside their daughters.

“They’re women too, and so those skills are things that they’ll be able to use and things they’ll be able to reinforce with their daughters that are here and with their other children, sons and daughters, about cyber security and financial security,” Pat Phillips, co-president of the Janesville branch of the American Association of University Women, said. “It’s a way to build that relationship and open the communication channels on some of the topics they’re going to learn about today.”

The three-hour session was free for the students and their mentors. Organizers from the police department, high school, AAUW, and Hedberg Public Library worked together to host the workshop. They hope to expand the training session to include other topics and have it become an annual event. The goal is to offer the program to other high schools around the area and eventually have it available for schools around the state and country to host on their own.