This summer LightHouse partnered up with a personal safety instructor from Savannah, Georgia, George Freeman, to bring the LightHouse community and their families specially designed virtual accessible workshops called Your Personal Safety: Getting Back to Normal. The final workshop will be held Saturday, October 16.
LightHouse Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Specialist, Katt Jones, was a major advocate for the class and played a significant role in coordinating and scheduling this workshop series along with other LightHouse staff. We talked to them about their experience organizing and participating in these workshops.
“This workshop series was created from LightHouse’s BIDE Task Force which stands for Belonging, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity.”
BIDE is focused on implementing BIDE for LightHouse staff, students and the community. Some issues the task force are addressing include pay equity, glass ceilings and ensuring students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds can access LightHouse programs.
Katt Jones continues:
“During the first meeting of the task force, we discussed how many of our students were not feeling safe going outside. They might be afraid of COVID, or they might lack confidence in their travel skills due to having to shelter in place for so long. There were concerns of anti-Asian violence that has been increasing in the United States that is disproportionately impacting Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities. Working with George Freeman while coordinating this workshop series has been lots of fun. He has a long history of teaching safety and self-defense, so he is a wealth of knowledge. George also has an infectious sense of humor that gets me cracking up during all of our planning meetings and workshops.”
We also asked Katt some additional questions:
What was the level of participation in the first two workshops?
“We had around 70 participants in the first workshop and around 30 participants in the second. Most of the students found out about Personal Safety: Getting Back to Normal through participating in other LightHouse community service adult programs or from having O&M training. In the first workshop we got a lot of amazing questions, stories, and feedback from students about their safety concerns. The second workshop was mostly a lecture format to do a deeper dive in topics from the first workshop including de-escalation and boundary setting strategies. There are no requirements to join these workshops, so if a student has not participated in the previous classes, they are absolutely welcome to join the October 16 class.”
What can students expect from the workshop?
“The third workshop will be a Q&A format with a panel of safety experts from the Strive 4 You SEED program. This is a program George Freeman is a part of. This will be a great opportunity for people to ask questions and learn as much as they can in this interactive format.”
What feedback have you received from students in the previous classes?
“I have received a lot of positive feedback from students from both previous workshops. Students are eager to get back out into the world after being afraid to leave their homes due to the pandemic or fear of violence, but they are craving safety skills. Many of our students are interested in pursuing self-defense classes and hands-on training if it is available.”
What have you taken away from this experience, both as a program coordinator and as a participant?
“I think the most important thing I have learned is how hungry our students are for this information. They want to feel safe moving through the world and empowered to handle difficult situations and help others around them.”
In the future Katt hopes to hold another series of workshops, whether virtual or in-person, but for now, this is your last chance to attend a Personal Safety workshop.
Join Katt, George, other instructors and students on Saturday, October 16 from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm Pacific. RSVP to Personal Safety: Getting Back to Normal. If you have any questions regarding preparation for the workshop you may email Katt Jones at KJones@lighthouse-sf.org. If you have any other questions about the workshop or need assistance RSVPing, please contact Jaclyne Atoigue at JAtoigue@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7618.