In March, the Junior Women’s Club of Chevy Chase (JWCCC) hosted a class in self-defense at their clubhouse for the girls at our Helen Smith Group Home. The instructor taught some self defense moves, and each of our girls partnered with a member of the JWCCC and practiced the moves they learned. Afterward, Hearts & Homes staff member Vicki Valle spoke with the girls about the danger of texting and walking, the importance of staying alert, and using common sense to avoid threatening situations or people.
The JWCCC focuses on supporting initiatives that enhance the quality of life of women and children. The self defense activity is part of the JWCCC’s GEMS project. The GEMS (Girls Empowered Motivated and Successful) Mentoring Project, is one of the JWCCC’s special projects. GEMS is offered to teen girls ages 14-19; in partnership with one of our signature charities Hearts and Homes for Youth. Hearts & Homes serves youth in crisis by providing them with a variety of residential and supportive programs; including therapeutic group homes, foster care and independent living for pregnant and parenting teen mothers. The goal of the GEMS project is the offer the girls emotional support and mentoring; by exposing them to project based learning, teaching them life skills for independent living (cooking lessons, job skills, etc.) and offering them an opportunity to participate in service activities and social events. Our participation and affection for the girls has meant a lot to them and to our club members; already leaving a lasting impression on the lives we have touched.