Self-Defense in Thousand Waves’ Next Strategic Plan

04.25.17 by Ryan Libel

The end of 2016 marked the end of the period covered by Thousand Waves’ last strategic plan – we are proud of our many accomplishments! During the last half of last year, we assembled a strategic planning team and turned our attention toward creating a new plan for 2017-2019. As we worked, it became clear that one of the key areas in which Thousand Waves is positioned to grow is in the realm of Self-Defense/Violence Prevention work.


But how to grow? Two main factors influenced our thinking – one is the phenomenal work of program head Amy Jones and the team in delivering a grant-funded series of programs to LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness in 2015 and 2016. That program allowed us to partner with key organizations already serving a constituency we knew to be at heightened risk of experiencing violence. The other factor is our own experience and the growing body of social science research that demonstrates the best outcomes for Empowerment Self-Defense programs when they can be delivered in multiple sessions over time. While it takes considerable resources to deliver multi-session programs, we’re sure it’s the most effective.

So our plan is to design a multi-year outreach project involving strategic partnerships with organizations that can help us deliver our life-changing programs to the people who can best benefit from them. We will establish goals for this pro-bono service delivery that will allow us to impact as many people as possible as deeply as possible, funding the work with the generosity of supporters like you and through initiatives like our annual Spirit Challenge fundraiser.

Ramping up our service delivery will require more trained instructors than we currently have available to teach. Training professional instructors to deliver our Empowerment Model of Self-Defense is not an overnight task, so the Self-Defense teacher training itself is a big part of our Strategic Plan. We’re currently training six new instructors, all of whom are on track to be class-room ready by the end of the year. I hope you’ll take a moment to read more about them!

Thank you for your interest in and ongoing support of our work, and I look forward to sharing more about our strategic initiatives and successes in the months and years to come.

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