News AnchorIt seems like almost every day I hear a News Reporter say “A female jogger was brutally attacked this morning on the Silver Comet Trail” or “Women are feeling scared to ride their bikes at night due to an attacker on the loose” or “Atlanta police are looking for two men who beat a woman in the parking lot of Phipps Plaza”.

These horrendous stories make me both sad and frustrated, as I believe that EVERY girl and woman has the right to enjoy a healthy, fun and active life without the fear that someone may be hiding out waiting to attack them. So I decided to interview some people that have taken my Personal Safety & Empowerment Program to see if the training has made a difference to their everyday lives. I chose to interview a runner, a survivor of abuse and a college girl.

Tara is 27 years old and a recent Masters graduate of Kennesaw State University. She is an avid Runner and enjoys a good run most days.

What made you take the Powerhouse Workshops?

RunnerI gained the opportunity to participate in the Powerhouse Workshops through my internship at The Drake House. The Drake House is an organization where homeless single mothers and their minor children can live and learn skills for successful living. One of the skills offered focused on the teens was the Powerhouse Workshops. I attended my first one as a student along with the teens and the second as an assistant instructor.

Did you leave feeling empowered?
Yes, as a runner I knew that I took risks every time I stepped on the greenway or park trails where I ran. I enjoy running or walking my dog alone. With the skills I gained in being preventative with my choices of when and what time I ran helped me gained confidence in my safety. Along with not using my headphones while I ran improved my awareness of my environment. Even if I came across a situation where I needed to act I knew I had the ability to do what I needed to and get away.

What is different about the Powerhouse Program compared to other self-defense programs you may know?
The Powerhouse Program focuses on being able to be prepared to spot trouble before it becomes your problem. Not only can this help one protect themselves from danger, but can help others from becoming victims. Others that are presented usually focuses on the brute force that can be used to stop an attack. The Powerhouse Program has an holistic approach that teaches the mind, spirit, and body to become stronger to stop the statistics of violence from rising.

Has it made a difference to your everyday life?
Yes. Now I can walk out the door and be deliberate with my choices. I know I can be safe by where I go and when I go. I know what I need to do to give awareness to my surroundings without being afraid all the time. I know that if it comes down to it I will have the skills to not become a victim. I have a confidence that quietly yells “back off” to any potential danger.

What was your life before you took the workshop?
Before the Powerhouse Workshop I would take risks and feel nervous about my choices. I heard something I freaked out. I had no real sense of why and what I was looking out for, but I knew I had to watch out.

Mom with ChildrenNicole is a 26 year old mom of 2 active children. My Program was recommended to her by a mutual friend. Nicole is a survivor of sexual abuse that she suffered from the age of 5 years old!

What made you take the Powerhouse Workshops?
I had been struggling with anxiety for a long time. I’ve always been weary of my surroundings, but I knew I could never over power someone if they were to attack me. This course was the most well-rounded, so I gave it a try.

Did you leave feeling empowered?
I did. This workshop showed me that I could take control of so much more in my life. It didn’t just help me feel like I could better protect myself, I feel that I can face some issues from my past and present.

What is different about the Powerhouse Program compared to other self-defense programs you may know?
Jennifer focused on more than the “physical” part. When we think of self defense, our mind gears toward the “fight/defend” mode. She incorporated the verbal and emotional aspect, which is very useful. My personal experience proves how important it is to have the necessary tools that can help you deter a physical attack.
Has it made a difference to your every day life?
YES! I feel like I have more control. This is huge for me. I’m ready to take that next step in healing now.

What was your life like before you took the workshop?
Frazzled. I have so much healing left to do and my past tends to bleed through to the present. However, I’m now feeling empowered enough to let go of one part of it. I’m ready to close one door. This is a lot of progress for me. This course is the reason I feel O.K. and strong enough to let go.

The road I have ahead of me is long, but being able to let go of the pain my mother caused through my life is HUGE. I am a 26 yr old survivor of 20 years of physical, sexual and mental abuse. Any progress I make is huge. I’ve seen Psychologists, Psychiatrists and therapists. For 6.5 years I haven’t been able to let go of this. Thanks Jennifer.

College StudentSusannah is an 18 year old Freshman at Kennesaw State University. She has been a very active student at her High School.

What made you take the Powerhouse Program and get involved with Powerhouse?
I am friends with Susan Norris, the author of ‘Rescuing Hope’ who has researched sex-trafficking and interviewed victims. It is very scary how real this issue is. I got involved with the Powerhouse Program knowing that I would like to be an Instructor. However, I’ve always wanted to learn self-defense and know how to prevent an attack and to stop one immediately, if it ever presented itself. I also wanted to learn more about how to empower others to feel safe.

Additionally, I also wanted to be better prepared for college, after reading news reports on just how unsafe college campuses can be for girls.

Did you feel empowered after the workshop?

Empowered PhotoDefinitely! What made me feel empowered was the emotional self-defense session, learning the red flags and danger signs in order to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. It is like a battle – when you are in battle you always want to find the high ground to have the advantage. Emotional self-defense is your advantage.

The Powerhouse mission is to educate and empower girls and females to live safe, healthy and active lives, through its holistic approach to Personal Safety. Established in 2011, Powerhouse has empowered thousands of girls and women in several US states and in the UK. The objective of our Program is to prevent any form of assault, by using our basic survival skills, and to build confidence and self-esteem.

Jennifer Riis-Poulsen is the Founder & CEO of Powerhouse, providing Personal Safety & Empowerment Programs. Powerhouse is the LEADER in EMPOWERING Girls and Women to live Safe, Healthy and Active Lives.