By Monica Busch, Contributing Writer
Westborough – When Westborough resident Alisa Stone realized that there were no immediate options for women who were interested in self-defense or safety training, she felt compelled to change that. Stone has worked to provide an opportunity for high-school-aged women and older to learn to protect themselves.
Stone was mugged 15 years ago, and her desire to set up safety training programs stemmed from that incident.
“Once you'se had that kind of experience, you really re-think it. I think about what I could have done differently,” she said. “I lost cash, but I have my life.”
Years later, Stone who now has daughters of her own, wanted them to be prepared to handle a dangerous situation like the one she faced. She began searching for a safety program in which she could enroll her children.
Stone knew how important it was to be prepared for a physical confrontation. Unfortunately, danger is all too common – even in the burbs.
“I can's stop myself because what if it's them [her daughers]? I tell my friends, everyone I meet [about how to protect yourself]. Then I found out about Lizzie Marriott.”
This lit the fire. Stone called local police departments, schools and gyms only to find that programs had been cut everywhere she looked. But she knew she couldn’t give up. So, she contacted the organization that had been such an inspiration in the first place.
She found herself talking to Ellen van Olden, a co-founder of SAM Training, an organization specializing in managing aggressive behavior. Olden was eager to help Stone bring this education to the area and became personally invested. She helped Stone find sponsors to lower the cost of participating from $95 a person to $35, and went further, deciding to donate all excess money raised to the Marriott Family Fund.
The program, “Empowering the Girls We Love: Personal Training 101,” will be hosted in the event room at Tatnuck Bookseller Jan. 4 and 5, 2013. The store's ownership was so supportive of the mission to empower young girls they also offered to help sponsor the program.
Women of all ages are welcome to attend one of the six sessions. Those interested may register online at www.samprograms.com.
Stone is expecting the program to be a success, and is thankful for all the support she has been receiving.
“The response the minute I mentioned it to anyone has been overwhelming.”