Girls’ LEAP Self-Defense partners with schools and community agencies in the Greater Boston area to deliver programming to girls aged 8-18. Our original curriculum combines physical self-defense skills with self-reflective activities that include group discussions, role plays and journaling. By integrating these two components, we give girls a chance to develop assessment skills, increase awareness of extreme threat and internal signals, practice making decisions in threatening situations, and reflect on what happened. Participants also learn about personal boundaries, conflict de-escalation, characteristics of healthy relationships, situationally-appropriate ways to say “no,” and self-advocacy. Furthermore, by validating girls’ experiences and feelings about violence, LEAP helps girls to build self-esteem and confidence. Many of the skills learned in Girls’ LEAP – communication, confidence, conflict resolution and self-advocacy – are also underpinnings of success in academic and professional pursuits. Our programs can be offered in a variety of formats to fit the needs of our partner agencies. Below outlines the types of programs LEAP offers. If you are interested in hosting a Girls’ LEAP program, please fill out our Host Site Application.
Girls’ LEAP Self-Defense Program
18-20 hours, for girls aged 8-18
Our core model. This program empowers girls and young women through our original curriculum which integrates Self-Reflective and Physical Self-Defense Skills. Self-Reflective Skills include topics such as conflict resolution, setting boundaries, courage, advocacy and healthy relationships. Girls’ LEAP’s Physical Self-Defense Skills focus on girl specific physical safety and self-defense techniques. Girls are taught to use contact or strike skills only in extreme, worst-case scenarios.
Introductory Self-Defense Workshop
2-3 hours, for girls aged 8-18
An introduction to basic self-defense and awareness skills. Participants will be able to identify the goals of the Girls’ LEAP program and exhibit basic competency in verbal de-escalation skills and personal boundary setting.
Adult Introductory Workshop
An introduction to basic self-defense and awareness skills. This participatory workshop provides and opportunity for faculty/staff to experience some of the activities the girls in their programs will be learning. Participants learn escape skills and reflective activities focused on personal boundary setting and saying no.
Orientation to Girls’ LEAP
Appropriate for adult, co-ed groups.
A short introduction to Girls’ LEAP. Designed to be paired with a Girls’ LEAP program, this orientation clarifies the key components of the curriculum and includes tips on maximizing the partnership between Girls’ LEAP and your organization.
For middle or high school aged youth.
Appropriate for girls only or co-ed groups.
An interactive youth-led workshop. The Youth Speak-Out is designed to raise awareness about the everyday violence that impacts different levels of communities, and to educate participants on some of the ways Girls’ LEAP addresses this issue.
Voices on Violence Presentation
A presentation on Voices on Violence, our report highlighting experiences of girls in Boston. Suitable for those interested in learning more about the hidden types of violence that impact girls on a daily basis. The presentation includes: key findings and anecdotes from girls throughout Boston, a review of current efforts addressing issues of violence against and among girls, additional ways that we can advocate for the safety and prevention of violence against and among girls.
“I would recommend Girls’ LEAP to other girls because it doesn’t just teach you self-defense, but it is a way to communicate and grow with other girls your age. It helps you figure out exactly who you are.” -Girl, age 15