Each year following the winter recess, College Experience students return to campus one week prior to the beginning of classes to engage in a prep week in order to get ready for the spring semester. This January, we were very fortunate to also have the University at Albany Police Department conduct a R.A.D self-defense training for our students.

The R.A.D. program teaches women and men of all ages strategies for risk-reduction and staying safe, as well as self-defense tactics that can be used when facing a dangerous or life-threatening situation. There are separate programs for men and women; I attended and completed the program with all of our female students while Jesse attended and completed the program with our male students. Overall, it was a phenomenal program – all of the ladies were asking myself and the officers when we would be able to take the course again, and I know that many of the ladies in our program now have an interest in continuing to expand their knowledge of self-defense strategies! We all had the opportunity to practice the tactics that we learned in simulations with the officers, and at the end we all agreed that we felt much more confident and powerful – – a group of strong women who could conquer the world! It was definitely a bonding experience for our students and staff as well.

Below, staff member Jesse Sapersteinh writes more about his experiences with the program:

As staff members, we try to keep the students as safe as possible.  We give them the tools in which to cross the busy Albany streets and how to interact with strangers on the bus lines.  But we sadly cannot be with them every hour of the day and we must rely on the community to be an extra set of eyes and ears.  The community is also looking out for them by giving them resources to remain safe.  On that note, this is a photograph featuring a training session with Sergeant Steven Grassmann of the Albany Police Department.  He spent five whole hours with our students discussing basic self-defense techniques in the event that our students are in situations they cannot get out of through just using their words.
The best message of the day is that “nobody wins in a fight” and the best fights we have are the ones we avoid.  Having these skills is not a reason for the students to put themselves in dangerous situations or to go out looking for trouble.  It is merely something else that will increase safety in a world that does not always play by the rules.


RAD Training

Love the photo, Jesse! Next year, we’ll be sure to get one with the girls!