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If you are a teenage girl or adult woman concerned about your safety, Cagan Crossings Library is offering a free program that may be of interest to you. Presented by Bethzaida Garcia, founder/director of Life in Your Hands, it is a one-hour women's safety and self-defense class that starts on Saturday, May 14 at 10am.

The New York Times, quoting from a United Nations report last year, noted that "In the United Sates, 83 percent of girls aged 12 to 16 said they had experienced some form of harassment in public schools. Around 35 percent of women worldwide, more than one in three, said they had experienced physical violence in their lifetime."

"The program is created with safety awareness and self defense. In this class the focus is on prevention to reduce risks and use basic self-defense techniques," Garcia explained. She is a certified instructor from the SAFE and RAD programs, both of which are self-defense programs aimed at increasing situation awareness and equipping participants with self-defense techniques.

Please note that this free one-hour program will be limited to 80 participants, and is for girls aged 12 and up and women only.

"There will be a lot of tips and verbal components. There will not be physical hands-on defense, as we can't really do that at the library, but if participants show more interest, there may be a follow-up," explained Mary Ann Manzo, co-founder of Run for Freedom.

The program is sponsored by the Gathering at WDW and Run for Freedom. It is requested that those who wish to participate register for the program by May 11 by calling Manzo at 352-250-1909 or visiting

Run for Freedom raises awareness of human trafficking, works to prevent it through education, and endeavors to assist victims. For more information, visit

Cagan Crossings Library is located at 16729 Cagan Oaks in Clermont, at Four Corners. The class will be held in the library's community room B. To contact the library, call 352-243-1840.

Run for Freedom hosts women's class in self-
defense to be held at Cagan Crossings Library
Run for Freedom
Bethzaida Garcia, founder of Life in Your Hands and self-defense teacher. She will be the instructor for a one-hour self-defense class for girls and women at Cagan Crossings Library. (Courtesy photo)
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