Fearless in Puyallup!

It was awesome to start off the new year with a Student Fight Back program in beautiful Puyallup, WA!  What I love about our GFB and SFB programs is that because they are so interactive, no two shows are ever the same. At Pierce College we had a smaller audience, but these students came to learn how to be their own best protectors and truly filled the auditorium with their voices and their presence. One of the points we emphasize in our programs is that “the best fight is the one that’s never fought” (i.e. having some strong verbal strategies is so important!). A lot of us have a hard time using our voices, especially in a situation that can be confrontational, but watch out world because these fierce students have no problem standing their ground, assessing the situation and setting some strong verbal boundaries!

Even when we are with just a few people, if we feel like they have our back, it makes us feel more comfortable, more confident. It is always incredible to see a group of students support one another throughout the program; it’s incredible to see students stand side by side as they learn how to set firm boundaries with their bodies and their voices. Thank you, Pierce College, for being such strong allies and for finding strength within yourselves as well as in one another!

 

Go forward peacefully!

 

-SFB Morgan

Keepin’ it Safe in the Backyard of The Big Apple

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Living in New York City, you think you know most of the major spots nearby. So it was a pleasant surprise to find the very quaint and beautiful Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, right across from my backyard. It’s a lovely campus with a spectacular view of The Big Apple, but even more impressive students!

Stevens Institute of Technology welcomed Students Fight Back! and made the statement that a safer campus is a priority. Being a male-dominated school, I applaud Stevens Institute for taking initiative. It speaks to the very loud voice of our young generation that both males and females want equality, and are on a mission to end violence for all. In this spirit, we talked about being an active bystander and looking out for each other, why assuming someone is a “creeper” based on stereotypes is actually putting yourself in a more harmful situation and of course, we kicked some serious ass. It was a stellar event from start to finish!

Thanks so much Stevens Institute of Technology for letting Students Fight Back! be a part of your community. Looking forward to visiting my neighbors again soon! Until next time….

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Light and Love,

GFB Bree

Stephen F. Austin FIGHTS BACK!

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Stephen F. Austin State University is such a cool crew, with contagious energy and that serious FIGHT BACK! spirit. I got to see this not only during our seminar, but in on-campus events surrounding my presentation.

As we point out in our program, no matter how safe a school, neighborhood or city might be, violence is unfortunately something that touches all of us. SFA saw this first hand, with an attack on campus several days before our seminar and one literally the same night I was speaking on their campus. The students told me all about it, and how in both cases they believed the attacker was not a student. Scary stuff. But the INCREDIBLE news is that in both instances, the women fought off the attacker and were able to get away.

Hell. Yeah.

See what I mean about that fight back spirit? The truth is this can happen on any campus, and I’d like to give Stephen F. Austin a standing ovation for taking the initiative to make their campus a safer place by educating students with programs like Students Fight Back! Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your brave community and most importantly, for fighting back.

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And a special shout out to Student Activities Association, one of the hardest working campus organizations I’ve seen! They did such a stellar job planning the event, getting badasses in seats and getting the community hyped up about making the campus safer. You all are making a difference, truly. Can’t wait to come visit you all again reeeeeeeeal soon!

Love and Light,

GFB Bree

St. John’s Fisher College wraps up the 2015 Tour

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St. John’s Fisher College wrapped up the Girls Fight Back! and Students Fight Back! 2015 Tour… And man did we finish hella strong. We had over 70(!) students at a non-mandatory event (FYI that’s like winning the Super Bowl in student event planning when it comes to an “issues and ideas” event, in case you didn’t know). Yep, this crew was seriously SO much fun!

Sometimes a crowd can take a little time into the program to warm up… I get it, I mean, we are talking about some serious stuff here but in a totally different way. We make it REAL talk. Person to person. So there can be some resistance. Not this crew at St John’s. We were vibin’ right outta the gates!

I quite possibly laughed harder and had more fun than any other event this year! It was amazeballs working with students who were so eager to learn, excited about making their safe campus an even safer place and being their own best protectors in any situation! Before I left, they were already talking about ways to take “next steps” and bring on more intense seminars. This gang is the group of students you look at and feel hopeful & grateful for the future of our society. They truly blew me away!

And of course none of this would have been possible without Claire and the SJFC Feminist Caucus and sponsors going the extra mile to raise funds, planning their pants off and being the hostest with the mostest. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your hard work and heart-warming hospitality. I HAVE to come visit you all again… You made my season! Till next time…

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Love and Light,

GFB Bree

Friends University + SFB = BFF

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When I saw Friends University, I was hoping this crew was as welcoming as their name sounded.  Holy cow. They should be called Best Friends Forever and Ever University. I was completely blown away by the generosity (check out this Taylor Swift-quality green room!!!), excitement and energy. We had so much fun!

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The energy in the room was simply contagious and they were so into learning about being their own best protector. I love going to schools were I realize my “job” is kind of the coolest thing on the planet. And Friends University made that realization happen.

I have to give a special shout out to FACE for being an incredible host, throwing on a stellar event and, of course, helping me get my cowgirl on whilst in Wichita, KS. They hooked me up with the coolest ranch and suited me up in their FACE T-shirt for perfect riding swag!

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Thanks so much Friends University for having myself and Students Fight Back! to throw down with all of you… You are all my BFFs. See you on the road again real soon…

Love and Light,

GFB Bree

 

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Central Community College

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I recently embarked on a road trip across Nebraska, hitting several community colleges along the way. One of my favorite schools on Tour de Nebraska was Central Community College. We had a packed room in the middle of the day right around lunch time… Not an easy thing to do. But that’s because Nicholas Freeland is a baller and was a big part getting the sister community colleges involved, as well as filling the room full of badass students.

Along with putting on an exceptional event, the students in attendance at CCC were excited, eager to learn and full of excellent questions. One of the questions brought forth was during our “Being an Active Bystander” section. The student was very concerned about stepping in to physically help another if a heated argument or bullying situation was on the brink of becoming physical. Excellent point… And we at Students Fight Back! are NEVER encouraging you to put yourself in a more harmful situation. Simply getting help or making a phone call to the appropriate authorities so a professional can intervene is being a GREAT active bystander. This keeps you safe while still looking out for each other, ya dig?

Thank you for being so engaged and asking this important question CCC crew- and for having me to your beautiful campus. You all are rock stars and I can’t wait to visit you all again soon. Until next time…

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Love and Light,

GFB Bree

LIM College – Let’s Go Round 2!

This is my second round with the beautiful people of LIM College. This go, we spoke to the students that had just moved into their residence housing here in NYC. They were a fun group of girls who wanted to get their know-how on when it came to self defense.

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One of the hot topics that I think often gets brought up at the beginning to middle of the school year, when the parents send their young blossoming buds off, is setting them up with pepper spray. This was a must-know among the LIM College group so I thought I’d share with all y’all.

When I went to live in Nashville by myself, my aunt bought me a stun gun AND pepper spray (she was only mildly worried about my safety.) I think I was more scared of shocking myself with the stun gun (because the spark it gave off scared the crap out of me) than I was scared of being attacked. And I actually DID shoot myself in the stomach with my roommate’s pepperspray when I was tossing her keys around in my hands.. I didn’t know it was pepper spray, shot myself in the stomach and was choking and eyes watering for a good hour. Yeah, I am that cool.

I share this what-not-to-do story because it proves one of our main rules about using any kind of safety tool: Practice using it! So many people put all of their trust into these protective weapons and then either A. have no idea how to use or B. know how to use it but only in calm and collect situations, not when you’re all jazzed up on adrenaline and can hardly move your fingers, let alone take off the safety, aim and shoot precisely into someone’s eyes. (This brings me to the another side note: make sure if you’re going to carry pepper spray to have one that shoots a long and wide mist, not one of those that you can practically spit farther than and is a solid stream. In needs to have distance and depth. We sell an excellent model as well as a practice-can (A MUST) here on www.girsfightback.com)

If you know how to use your safety tool and have practice, this is the best way to prevent our second rule from happening: know that anything you use can be taken away from you and used on you. Unfortunately this does happen, but if you have taken the appropriate training and practiced using it, that’s unlikely to happen. It’s all about taking the preventative steps my friends.

A big shout out to LIM College for bringing this important topic to the forefront as it’s a widely uneducated topic. But since LIM’s crew is a bunch of badasses and their second round of SFB, I’m not surprised they are all over this. Thank you so much for having me LIM and I’m stoked to go round 3! Till next time..

Love and Light,
GFB Bree

Sunday Morning “Kicks” – Cal Poly San Luis Obispo!

What were you doing on Sunday morning? Sleeping? Reading the newspaper? Well if you were one of the more than 700 new sorority members at Cal Poly SLO, you were in the Chumash Auditorium eye striking and groin kicking your way to empowerment with Girls Fight Back!

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The New Member Education event started off with a presentation by SAFER, Cal Poly’s primary resource for addressing sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking.  They showed my favorite “Tea Consent” video and really set the crowd up for the Girls Fight Back material.  I love it when allies join together with us during events, because as a united voice we are so much louder at combatting violence and rape culture in our society.

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Taelor, the VP for the Panhellenic Association was a strong supporter of the GFB program and was supremely awesome before, during and after the event!  She even arranged to have a member of the IFC executive staff, Kevin, act as my demo “creeper”.  It was incredible to have a man that is so passionate about our cause be a part of the show and he did a great job!  Women and men have to work together to truly end violence in our world.

We practiced our verbal strategies and learned how to recognize when someone is disrespecting our no. We clarified that consent should be an enthusiastic HELL YES!  And of course, we practiced our badass ballet moves. Make no mistake, these ladies were supremely bad ass…their invisible creepers got their butts kicked!  And when I asked everyone to stand up for the last badassballet practice, I heard several women in the front row announce “oh hell yes!” and were the first to jump up into ready position.  You go girls, that enthusiasm is contagious!

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Thank you so much for inviting me to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and letting me be a part of your college experience while empowering your new Greek Members.  I hope you all know how incredible you are, how much power you have and how you all deserve to live an awesome life with NO APOLOGIES!  Remember to look out for each other and please go forward peacefully.

Cheers,
GFB Nicole

University of Richmond – “Do you feel powerful?”

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“YEEEEESSSSSS!” came the thunderous reply as the Weinstein Center at the University of Richmond echoed with the roar of women’s voices. The intensity of that reply gave me goose bumps and made it quite obvious that these courageous sorority sisters were feeling powerful indeed after watching the program!

The Panhellenic Council sponsored this Girls Fight Back event and the students were visibly pumped from the beginning as they started filling in and taking their seats.  The energy in the room was electrifying and I knew we were going to have an awesome time together!

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Once we got started we were on a roll to empowerment! Everyone cheered when I showed them the sparkly red high heel and explained we’d be learning how to use it as a weapon later in the program. But seriously, who wouldn’t want to know how to do a solid instep stomp to protect themselves from a creeper?  Stomp away!

Then we learned a little phrase to use when we need to take back control of a conversation when the person is trying to manipulate us with charm.  That tidbit of info was met with some surprised faces and uneasy murmurings…as if the thought of asserting oneself verbally was the most uncomfortable thing in the world.  Well, it totally can be for some folks and that’s ok! That’s why practice makes perfect and it all starts with knowing that it’s ok to set your own boundaries and know you have the right to have those boundaries be respected.

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When it came time to practice our verbal skills I had the help of 2 university police officers who switched off being my demo volunteers.  That was the first time I’ve ever had 2 volunteers and it was so much fun being able to show the audience different scenarios with 2 different “creepers”. Then I got to kick their pretend creeper butts when it came time for the Bad Ass Ballet!  What great sports they were and the ladies loved it!  We were palm striking and groin kneeing like champs and these sorority warriors were not hesitant about practicing their moves.  It was awesome to see so much enthusiasm!  So it wasn’t a surprise when at the end they just about blew me away with their resounding “YES!” to my question.

Thank you all so much for your warm welcome, energy, hospitality and eagerness to learn how to be your own best protector.  I am so happy that I had the chance to meet you all and please remember to go forward peacefully!

 

The Booming Market of Sexual Assault Prevention on Campuses

For years, we at Girls Fight Back and Students Fight Back have promoted training that teaches women to trust their instincts and be their own best protectors.  Studies show that this is still the most effective method of preventing sexual assault.

We are happy that in the years since our inception, awareness has grown and programs have been put in place to encourage bystander intervention and help us all to look out for each other.  The programs, apps and products mentioned in the article below are all utilized to assist in preventing sexual assault, and that is a very good thing!  Go public awareness!  We love it!

Ultimately, while we definitely think there is room for ALL OF THESE APPROACHES, the problem of sexual assault on college campuses exists NOW and in addition to these other approaches, we have to teach women how to take care of themselves.  It isn’t victim blaming, it is just practical.

Here’s the NPR article I mentioned, check it out!

-GFB Kat

We are on tour and on our way to you!

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If you want to bring Girls Fight Back, Students Fight Back, or Fight Back on Spring Break to your campus, call us at 866.769.9037 or email us at gfb@girlsfightback.com and also check out these dates when we are touring to see if we are headed to a campus near you:

8/15/15 – Morehead, KY

8/26/15 – New York, NY

8/29/15 – Commerce, TX

9/8/15 – McCook, NE

9/9/15 – North Platte, NE

9/9/15 – Coeur d’Alene, ID

9/16/15 – Richmond, VA

9/17/15 – Potsdam, NY

9/27/15 – Platteville, WI

9/28/15 – Milwaukee, WI

9/30/15 – Eau Claire, WI

Topics we cover in Girls Fight Back & Students Fight Back that are shown to be EFFECTIVE sexual assault prevention for college students:

  • Self-Defense including how to yell and break holds
  • Definitions of Consent
  • Debunking the myth of stranger danger and defining acquaintance rape
  • Bystander intervention
  • Clarifying the right to personal boundaries
  • . . . with an approach that is dynamic, includes role-playing, discussion, and problem-solving

It’s a complicated issue and there is no one perfect approach, but a multi-faceted approach to sexual violence including these techniques has shown time and time again to save lives and decrease violence.

This great article from the New York Times states:

Sexual violence is a serious hazard on college campuses. . . .  In a randomized trial, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, first-year students at three Canadian campuses attended sessions on assessing risk, learning self-defense and defining personal sexual boundaries. The students were surveyed a year after they completed the intervention. The risk of rape for 451 women randomly assigned to the program was about 5 percent, compared with nearly 10 percent among 442 women in a control group who were given brochures and a brief information session. . . .  “It’s an important, rigorous study that shows that resistance and self-defense training needs to be part of college sexual assault prevention,” said Sarah E. Ullman, a professor of criminology, law and justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who was not involved in the research.

We are dying to teach you how to kick some booty, and have fun in the process.  Give us a shout today!

Bay Area Girls are Badass!

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Want to know what I found out first hand after meeting a sassy group of high school seniors on Monday… Bay Area girls are BADASS! These ladies were so enthusiastic about learning the badass ballet that I had to keep reminding them that this is a no-contact course! Guess that means some local self defense classes are going to have a ton of new sign ups soon..which is awesome! Some of these gals are heading for international trips this summer so we talked about safety & travel tips as well as the standard awesome collection of empowering skills. These ladies are not only ready for college but for the world beyond! And of course a big shout out to the super mom, Claire Mallet, for putting this whole event together. It’s not every day that a group of high school girls get a personalized Girls Fight Back presentation before graduating! Keep on kicking ass and educating yourselves ladies, and thanks for letting me into your “girl group”!

-GFB Nicole

Roanoke – Breaking More Than Just Records

Roanoke March 2015 editiedTraveling around the country I see a lot of diverse cultures. You can imagine speaking in the Minnesota “dontchaknow” is a bit different from speaking in “welcometoMiami.”

So when I recently spoke at Roanoke, a quite prestigious college on the Forbes and Princeton Review’s Who’s Who lists, I may have had some preconceived notions. Well first, we had blast. (Duh). The small but mighty crowd was rocking and rolling …a few of them got so cracked up they were even laughing out loud (or pretended to. I’ll take it.). And, of course, the southern hospitality rang true in this tight-knit school, many thanks to Community Programing. But one of my favorite things about speaking at Roanoke I didn’t expect: the age diversity was awesomesauce! I’m talking on both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. I was ecstatic to see this on such a historic campus! Mid-presentation, I had two women who were not students on campus, just senior community members, asking great questions and getting up practicing full-out knee-to-the-groin. Say what? And then…And then!! I had a local Girl Scout member approach me afterwards about bringing GFB to her school as part of a project to receive one of her patches. That’s right. Senior citizens, mid-aged parents, college kids and Girl Scouts all in one room learning the badass ballet. Ummm… Is this real life? This is a GFB dream-come-true, if you ask me. Stretching across generations to share the passion of living an empowered and fearless life at every age.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Roanoke College for taking the stand against violence. For leading the way in offering programs for a diverse community, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, religion and so on. And for being living proof that you can be your own best protector and live an empowered life no matter how old or young you are. Ah. I’m filled with gratitude to see the spirit of GFB living across lifetimes.

Many thanks Roanoke for allowing me to be a part of your beautiful community for a night.. I look forward to seeing you again next year!

Love and Light,
GFB Bree

Saint Francis = GFB Family 

I make a lot of badass friends on the roads But Saint Francis University and I are becoming more like family. We can joke around with each other (like how their mascot kind of looks like a creeper.. Don’t worry they openly own it – see image).

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And there is some fighting, but not over Thanksgiving dinner or who ruined my favorite t-shirt. It’s the good kind. Where we throw down with our three-step badass ballet moves to live a fearless life. What more could you want from a family?

St Francis 042915This was my second year in a row rumbling with this crew. And it only got bigger and better with solid support from the Greek Community, sororities and fraternities alike joining in the fight against violence, lead by the incredible Student Engagement and Leadership Committee. Students were helping students practice our kick-ass moves, making certain everyone is truly there own best protector, while of course looking out for one another. Kinda like brothers and sisters, but without the hair pulling.

Thank you so much for having me for round two Saint Francis… Your commitment to creating a safe and empowered campus is truly inspiring. I can’t wait to see you all again… real soon!

Love and Light,

GFB Bree

“Don’t Mess With Texas…” – Lamar State College

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Don’t mess with Texas, friends. Trust me. Especially if you are at Lamar State College. Students Fight Back visited both of these fine campuses in one day and holy smokes, they brought the heat.

We threw down in a mere hour and the energy at these schools, oh my. I was on an adrenaline buzz just being around these fierce birds. They kept me on my toes and were so pumped to be there.. it. was. amazing. And I have to give a shout out to all of the nurses and men on campus.. both showed their unwavering support for this cause and are leading by example for the rest of the student body.

Thank y’all (cus that’s what you say in Texas.. duh.) for sharing your time and energy with Students Fight Back and taking a solid stance against the violence culture. You are our leaders of this generation. Till next time…

With Love and Gratitude,

GFB Bree

Redbirds Fight Back!

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I had such a blast at Illinois State University teaching these powerful students how to become their own best protectors. A lot of the students were concerned about walking alone on campus at night, which is something all college students can relate to, and although these Redbird’s rocked the badass ballet, they also know that the easiest way to up their general safety starts with actively choosing awareness! I can assure you that no one should ever mess with these students, because they can seriously kick some ass! I want to give a special shout out to Lorena, Mark, Gail and UPB.

Thank you and stay warm ISU!

-GFB Morgan

Our Lady of the Lake…These Folks are Tough Cookies!

Our Lady of the Lake January 2015Our Lady of the Lake University kicked off our shiny, new and improved 2015 Girls Fight Back! Tour.. and can I just say, I don’t think there could have been a more amazing group to do so? They opened the evening with a blessing ….um, as a speaker, to have this kind of support, let’s just say… #blessed.

Once we got underway, we decided it was time to be CEO of our life. Our boundary setting skills were so dope, we were dropping mics and brushing’ shoulders off. Then after a quick #badassballet lesson, things got real. Our Lady of the Lake invited the local Krav Maga team to put the skills we learned to the test. These ladies brought it. Big time. I was one proud sister.

After the event, one glowing young lady approached me after the show to thank GFB for the knowledge she gained from our program. She said she knows she might not the be toughest gal in the bunch (I begged to differ.. it’s all about our mindset!) but she knew educating herself with as much knowledge as possible was how she could be her own best protector. Girl, you are one smart.. and tough.. cookie!

I was so honored to be a part of this wonderful community and see their light and passion shine through. Our Lady of the Lake University, thank you SO much for kicking off our 2015 tour. See you again soon!

Love and Gratitude,

GFB Bree

Let the SUNYshine in! SUNY Potsdam – Loving Life!

SUNY Potsdam 9.25.14“I love this job!” Those were the words I exclaimed out loud to myself (yes I talk to myself) while leaving SUNY – Potsdam after an amazing turnout for Girls Fight Back! Man, we had so much fun! Of course we got our intuition on, kicked some ass and had real talk. But we did it all while having a hella good time. That’s why I think GFB rocks so much… you can learn to be your own best protector and empower one another while still loving life. And it’s pretty amazeballs to do both.

Thank you SUNY – Potsdam for the incredible energy and life you brought.. You let the SUNYshine in. (Mmmm that’s cheesy!)

Truly, I was honored to be a part of your vivacious community!SUNY Potsdam 9.25.14 Pic 2
Love and Light,

GFB Bree

Holler for Harcum!

Harcum 9.19.14 croppedStudents Fight Back rolled on over to Harcum College this week and I had the privilege of getting down with these kids. About fifty percent of the crowd were student athletes. And they were ballas (see what I did there?).

And a majority of these ballas were men supporting their fellow strong ladies, and learning as well. I was excited to see the male crowd involved and asking excellent questions. One of the questions posed was “what do you do if someone attacks you from the back and just punches you in the back of the head and knocks you out?” Ah. Excellent question. I agreed that “Stop. Leave Me Alone. I don’t want any problems” is not so helpful once returning to consciousness after being sucker punched from the back. As badass of a team that we have at Students Fight Back, even with the extensive training we have all been through, we are not trained to cheat death. However, if you are trusting your intuition and actively choosing awareness in this wonderful life of yours, it’s very unlikely you’ll find yourself in a situation where someone has sucker punched you from behind.

Life is happening whether you are ready or not. We just want to give you the tools to live your life to the fullest. Being brave. Fearless. Courageous. And not just to have that badass mindset, but to physically empower you by teaching the basics of the best self-protection skill set, like trusting your intuition, setting strong boundaries and, of course,  a good ole’ palm strike.

Thank you so much Harcum College for welcoming into your incredible community. You are rockstars. This is my shout out (or holler!) to you.  Until next time..

Love and light,

GFB Bree

Morningside College Friday – Fierce, Fun and on Fire!

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What can I possibly say about Morningside College?  These kids were fierce, fun, and on fire to make their campus a safer place.  From the moment I arrived on campus to the moment the program was over we were laughing like old friends.  The turnout was awesome (and on a FRIDAY night!) and everyone was 100% into it.  I got some great questions after the program too.

Then something else magical happened.  The awesome student team that coordinated the event took me out to eat at a Mexican place that evidently has a pretty big following, La Juanita’s (La Jua for short).  No joke, my chimichanga was so good, I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.  And we were seated right next to this epic mural that I insisted we must take a picture in front of.  #diva

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I’ve had lots of awesome meals with amazing students in my almost 6 years with GFB, but let me tell you, Morningside College knew the way to my heart. Teaching students how to become their own best protectors AND eating cheesy tortilla wrapped saucy goodness?  Life just doesn’t get any better than that, friends.

-GFB Heather