OUR BLOG

Divas In Defense in Kuwait

2017 was a great year for Divas In Defense®. We had so many wonderful opportunities but nothing compares to our trip to Kuwait. We were contacted by Balsam International to join their ‘Be Strong Campaign’ to end violence against women. We eagerly joined the call to serve and our Director of Training, Vanessa Parker, and our Girls Can Fight Too Program Director, Skye Walton, headed to Kuwait for a 14-day training tour.

Balsam Al-Ayoub created Be Strong a few years ago to empower women and girls in Kuwait. She founded Balsam International that provides empowerment courses and workshops throughout the area.  Balsam Al-Ayoub is an Olympic Fencing Champion, Fashion Designer, TV host and a woman on a mission to empower women and girls in the Middle East. Her ‘Be Strong Campaign’ for 2017 was sponsored by the United States Embassy in Kuwait, United Nations Women Campaign to End Violence Against Women, Kuwait Sports Club, Agility, Derby and Ali Abdulwahab Al-Mutawa. Our training took place during the UNiTE Campaign’s observance of the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women (25 November – 10 December). 

While in Kuwait we facilitated classes for over 600 women from over 32 nationalities in just 14 days. During this training, we hosted Six 3-Day Certification Programs at the Kuwait Sports Club in Kaifan. We also facilitated classes at American Academy for Girls, Al-Bayan Bilingual School of Kuwait, American University of Kuwait and the Al-Sidra Center for breast cancer survivors. We also had the honor of facilitating a class at the Kuwait Women’s Police Academy. The women and girls of Kuwait left our classes feeling Fierce & Fabulous. We cannot thank Balsam, Nicky and her team enough for their hospitality and determination to end violence against women.

Here are just a few pictures from our trip. We hope to return again soon inshallah.

Welcome to Kuwait Balsam International-Divas In Defense

Our Welcome to Kuwait Cake. The desserts in Kuwait were amazing!

 

Prep before our first class Balsam International-Divas In Defense Kuwait

Getting ready for our first class

Skye Walton Balsam International Divas In Defense in Kuwait

Skye rocking her Be Strong/ UN Women Campaign to End Domestic Violence T-shirt

 

Al-Bayan Bilingual School Balsam International-Divas In Defense Kuwait

Al-Bayan Bilingual School

 

Skye training at the American Academy for Girls of Kuwait.

American University of Kuwait Balsam International-Divas In Defense

American University of Kuwait

Al-sidra Balsam International-Divas In Defense Kuwait (1)

Al-Sidra Breast Cancer Survivors

 

FM 99.7 Kuwait Radio

FM 99.7 Kuwait Radio. We interviewed on The Drive Back with Maha and Yousef. Great times and great music.

 

Womens Police Academy Kuwait Balsam International-Divas In Defense Kuwait

Kuwait Women’s Police Academy

 

Bazaar Magazine Event 2 Balsam International-Divas In Defense Kuwait (1)

Skye and I at the Bazaar Arabia Magazine honoring Balsam as one of the 10 Best Dressed Women of Kuwait. We are wearing dressed from Balsam’s clothing line.

 

Bazaar Magazine Event 3 Balsam International-Divas In Defense Kuwait

Balsam and her business partner looking fabulous.

Skye and Nicky at the Bazaar Magazine Best Dressed Kuwait Event

Last 3-Day Certificate Class at Kuwait Sports Club

 

Last class celebration Balsam International-Divas In Defense Kuwait

Skye celebrating our last day of training. We trained over 600 women from 32 nationalities in just 14 days.

Sightseeing in Kuwait City

 

Going away dinner from Balsam and her mother, Fatima Al Omani. Both of these women are amazing and an inspiration to all women.

It’s OK to Let Go!

As we enter into a new season, it is a time to re-evaluate things in our lives. Our relationships, our mindset, our bodies, our jobs, our businesses… our time. Time is the most invaluable commodity we are awarded, yet we waste it away as if it is replaceable. Fall has always interested me. With all the beautiful hues of reds, browns, and oranges; the basic concept is death.

Unfortunately, nature has a way of personifying itself to speak volumes to those prepared to be attentive. Autumn, the precursor to death (winter), is arguably the most beautiful season for nature to express herself. My lesson is, in life there must be constant renewal. At the expense of this rejuvenation, some things in my life are not meant to carry on to the next year. Releasing the baggage can help you to live a longer, healthier and sustainable life.

What in your life do you need to let go? Take time to evaluate things, people, and activities in your life. Are they there for the release and lessons learned or to carry on to the next year? It may take some courage, but the decision to “let go” falls in line with our God given gift of free will. You have the choice, make it! At times, the choice is to “Let Go!”

Seven Safety Tips for Runners

Whether you are an avid runner or preparing for an upcoming 5K or 10K for a cause, it is important for you to always keep your safety at the forefront of your routine. Here are seven simple safety tips to ensure your safety on your run.

CHECK IN. Make sure you inform someone of your run time(s) and estimated ending time. Letting others know and checking in with them relives the worry.

WHO YOU GONNA CALL? Different situations present themselves often. For your safety, a cellular phone is detrimental in case of emergency.

BE SEEN. It is imperative in both day and night running to be visible to others, especially drivers. Be cognizant about your running outfit’s ability to be seen in high and low light conditions. Always assume drivers can not see you, therefore go out of your way to be seen.

HEAR ME NOW? Unplug at least one, if not both, of your ears from headphones when running. Considering your hearing gives you a completely different perspective of your surroundings, you will be more likely to recognize impending dangers by listening.

I SEE YOU! If you are running near moving vehicles, it is best to run facing traffic. This gives you an opportunity to avoid being run over by seeing if drivers are paying attention or driving erratically.

SAVE A LITTLE BIT. Keep in mind, if you are attacked you may have to run and/or fight back. Do not exhaust yourself where you will be unable to do either. When leaving it all on the track, store a little reservation for the just in case situation.

STICKS AND STONES DO BREAK BONES. When running, it would be best to have a weapon of some sort to defend your self against potential attackers and animal attacks. The Too Hot To Trot is a non-evasive pepper spray for runners and the Knuckle Up allows you to be electrifying with a runner-friendly stun gun. The Brutus and the Attitude Adjuster both are designed for easy hauling while running.

Bae Watch: The 4 Most Influential Figures in Your Teen’s Life

As a father of a 16 year old daughter, my life is in ruins! Just kidding, but I can honestly say I wasn’t prepared for the differences between my sweet little princess who loved me unconditionally to grow into this barely speaking, rolling her eyes, teeth sucking mean girl! After a quick reflection (look into her social media), I realized the need to pay attention to the “influencers” in my child’s life. She calls them her “BAE’s” which consists of women so I barely complain. In an attempt to regain some of my “Daddy is my Fav!” days, I learn about them and have open dialogue with my daughter about them; at least when she is not on life support (i.e. Her iPhone).

This list is comprised of entertainers, entrepreneurs, fashionistas, millionaires and moguls whose followers are over 280,000,000 combined! I call them my BAE Watch, my mission is to “watch” my daughter’s BAEs. If you question the Power of these BAEs, I implore you to take some time to learn the language of teen girls and indulge in the music, makeup and mayhem of these four beautiful women who can all be individually identified by one name: Beyonce, Kylie, Rihanna, and Taylor!

Instagram: @beyonce

beyonce-instagram

Instagram: @kyliejenner

kylie-instagram

Instagram: @badgalriri

rihanna-instagram

Instagram: @taylorswift

taylor-instagram

Divas In Defense Partners With City of Atlanta Fire & Rescue

The City of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department (AFRD) will host its annual Open House on Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All fire stations across the City of Atlanta will open to the public, giving visitors the opportunity to meet their firefighters and tour the station house. We will be located at Station No. 9 in the City of Atlanta and will offer programs and activities, including fire safety education, preventive health screenings, car seat safety workshops, smoke detector giveaways, food and music for participants.

Atlanta residents and visitors are always welcome to visit an Atlanta Fire Rescue Station for blood pressure screenings and emergency medical services 24-hours a day.

For more information about the City of Atlanta, please visit http://www.atlantaga.gov. Follow the City of Atlanta on Facebook and Twitter @CityofAtlanta. Follow Mayor Reed on Facebook and Twitter @Kasim Reed

#DivasInDefense #CommunityPartner #PartnerWithPurpose #AtlantaFireDepartment #DivasInDefenseCares #MLKFireStation #June18 #Fierce #Fabulous #Divas #DID #OnTheScene

Summer Bully

It’s the last day of school, and you’re thinking, “Maybe my child can finally rest, no more bullying.” WRONG! Unfortunately, the summer is prime bullying season, the difference is those kids’ parents are your friends. Yes, there is a bully in your neighborhood! In some aspect, you are wrong for not realizing it.

Unlike the constant supervision in school, most kids in the neighborhood play hours unsupervised. This subjects your child to endless hours of demeaning and often physical attacks. Then, we ignore our children when we decide to visit our neighbors for dinner; placing them right in the belly of the beast. We have to pay attention to  our siblings; the breath of our bosom, the fruit of our loins, the chip off the block.

Character.org states:

Repeated bullying causes severe emotional harm and can erode a child’s self-esteem and mental health. Whether bullying is verbal, physical or relational, the long-term effects are equally harmful. Both boys and girls report high levels of emotional distress and loneliness as well as lower self-esteem, loneliness, anxiety, and depression.

Here are a few warning signs that your child may have a Summer Bully:

  • Unexplained physical marks, cuts, bruises, and scrapes
  • Clothes, toys, books, electronic items are damaged or missing or child reports mysteriously “losing” possessions
  • Doesn’t want to go to activities with peers
  • Marked change in typical behavior or personality
  • Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious or depressed and that mood lasts with no known cause
  • Physical complaints; headaches and stomach aches
  • Difficulty sleeping, nightmares, cries self to sleep, bed wetting
  • Change in eating habits

Remember, just because school has ended doesn’t mean the bullying has! For more information on bullying, visit divasindefense.com/victim-resources.

Four Steps to Protecting Personal Information Online

Having your personal information, like home address and phone number easily found online can leave you vulnerable to identity theft or in danger to a stalker. If you care to make the effort, there are steps to conceal information available about you in many public record databases. Most can be done quickly and inexpensively, other methods can be more costly and time consuming.

Keep in mind, it is virtually impossible to completely remove information available about yourself from public record. Some public information can be controlled, while others can not. For instance, property transactions and most court records will always be accessible to the public domain.

These efforts below are very effective, but not guaranteed. Please follow these preliminary steps listed to do the best you can to protect you and your family.

Here are four effective, but simple steps to controlling information about yourself listed on the web:

1) Open a P.O. Box for both personal mail and bills. Submit a change of address to your new post office box. This is the most effective and inexpensive thing you can do to swiftly remove your current address from a majority of “search sites” and public record databases.

2) Having an unlisted telephone number does not make your telephone number invisible to the public. This is one of the largest the misconceptions people have about having an unlisted number. Un-listing your telephone number simply keeps it out of directory assistance and white pages. The best thing you can do to control the distribution of your telephone number is to start with a new unlisted number and block caller ID information from being displayed when you place phone calls. Telephone numbers that at one time were listed, and are later unlisted, are most likely already widely distributed in the public record domain.

3) DO NOT put your name, number or personal information on any form or application without checking to reviewing their privacy policy. You will be surprised to find out how many credit card companies, banks, financial institutions and government agencies share or sell your information unless you specifically request that they do not distribute it.

4) Mail a written request to all major search sites and information suppliers requesting your information be removed. Some will comply, others will not. Most reputable companies have such a policy in place and soon will offer assistance in helping you contact information companies willing to remove your information.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Ah, February! As we eagerly anticipate the day of love, Valentine’s Day; let us not forget how many brokenhearted and abused girls there are in young relationships. This month, in addition to finding love, we encourage those to face new relationships with the ‘Love Me Pain Free’ mentality.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness about dating violence, promote programs that support young people, and encourage communities to prevent this form of abuse with the goal of decreasing the prevalence of dating violence among young people.

Here are a few facts about Teen Dating Violence:

  • 33% of adolescents in America are victim to sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse.
  • Teens who suffer dating abuse are subject to long-term consequences like alcoholism, eating disorders, promiscuity, thoughts of suicide, and violent behavior.
  • In the U.S., 25% of high school girls have been abused physically or sexually. Teen girls who are abused this way are 6 times more likely to become pregnant or contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
  • 50% of young people who experience rape or physical or sexual abuse will attempt to commit suicide.
  • Roughly 1.5 million high school boys and girls in the U.S. admit to being intentionally hit or physically harmed in the last year by someone they are romantically involved with.
  • 1 in 5 teens in a dating relationship report being hit, slapped, or pushed by their partner.

Divas In Defense provides teens with a college preparatory, self-defense workshop. The program is called On Her Own. The course includes the twelve elements of personal safety critical for this age group, including date rape drugs, jogging safety, safe parking lot strategies, social media net-iquette, on-campus violence, cyber stalkers and more. Young women enjoy and are empowered by our ten instinctive street fighting tools we teach.

Dating Violence Resources for Young People & Parents

Break the Cycle: Empowering Youth to End Domestic Violence
Striving to engage, educate and empower youth to build lives and communities free from domestic violence.

Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships
The Centers for Disease Control’s Dating Matters Initiative promotes healthy teen relationships in economically disadvantaged urban communities. The initiative includes an online training for youth workers and teachers.

Love Is Respect: National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
Providing resources for teens, parents, friends and family, Peer Advocates, government officials, law enforcement officials and the general public.

A Thin Line
Empowering youth to stop the spread of digital abuse.

Technology Safety Planning with Survivors
Help young survivors of teen dating violence make safer decisions online with safety planning tips sheets from the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean Vietnamese, Somali and Russian.

(Resource information courtesy of Family & Youth Services Bureau)

Fear, A Commodity

Fear sells. Fear makes money. The countless companies and consultants in the business of protecting the fearful from whatever they may fear know it only too well. The more fear, the better the sales.

The words delivered by Daniel Gardner, The Science of Fear, speaks volume. Modern day media promulgates a fear unique in itself. From break ins to murders, to assaults and dog attacks; we are force fed the nuisances of commercialism through daily rituals and information.

Now to remove my bitterness when it comes to how our capitalist society undermines the importance of disseminating positive news; it helps promote our business and our Passion for Protection. Yet, I wish there was an equivocal amount of news inspiring society as there was destroying the fabric of “togetherness.” With movements like #BlackLivesMatter utilizing social media to express independent views, mainstream media funded by “sponsors” remains the premiere catalyst to influence buyers and voters.

I challenge you, America! Although technology controls our daily lives, take the time to get to know someone “new” on a personal level. When I say new, I mean an individual outside of your immediate neighborhood. This solicitation to building new relationships, undermines the misconceptions forced upon society by major media outlets. Let’s rid ourselves of the power of fear to influence our spending, the power of forcing “U.S.” to keep up with the Joneses.

“Love thy neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)

UA-60998580-1