Rising Strength at Miles and Stockbridge


Yesterday, we had an awesome day at the law firm of Miles and Stockbridge! I shared the story behind Rising Strength and LeCarlo Beaty taught a self-defense course to the female lawyers who work there. We reviewed basic self-defense and situational awareness. Thank you, LeCarlo, for again teaching a great and fun course!

I can’t thank my dear friend, Beth Koloup, enough for helping organize this class. Beth is a lawyer at Miles and Stockbridge and has been a tremendous supporter and advocate of both Rising Strength and Carol’s Fight. Beth is the epitome of a great friend. I could not have gotten through the loss of my mom and overcome the attack without the support of amazing friends like Beth.

Thank you, Eddie, for always being so encouraging and supportive!

Self-Defense in St. Michaels

1 in 6 women in America will survive an attempted or completed rape. 1 in 87 women in America will take a self-defense class.

Thank you to the women who braved the snow on Saturday to attend the self-defense class at the St. Michaels YMCA! It was a great morning with LeCarlo Beaty from Divas in Defense providing many life saving skills. We went over how to properly punch, kick and get out of holds. Thank you, LeCarlo, for your enthusiasm, professionalism and traveling over two-hours to get to the class!

We had women of all ages in attendance and received great feedback. Thank you,Tracy Cohee, for providing the space for the class and to your awesome staff for staying open in the snow storm! We will be providing another free self-defense class in the upcoming months.

Thanks, Eddie, for being the best “attacker” and photographer on Saturday 🙂

Rising Strength Farm Flow

Farm Flow

“Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise”

-Maya Angelou

This past fall, I reconnected with my high school soccer teammate Jamie Weymont after ten years of living in different states. Within moments of us spending time together it became clear that Jamie and I share a passion for connecting and empowering women. Before the day was over we had started to contemplate how we could combine our efforts.

On Saturday June 18, 2016 we held the first Rising Strength Women’s retreat, aptly called Rising Strength Farm Flow because of the beautiful farm that it was held on. I’ve been fortunate to have many incredible experiences but this past weekend will stay with me as one of the most powerful days I’ve ever had. The day was supposed to be focused around yoga, meditation and sharing the story behind Rising Strength but it became so much more when we opened the conversation in a group sharing circle. I cannot thank the women who attended enough for joining us and sharing your experiences. It was impossible to leave the day not feeling empowered by the strength and resilience of these women.

Thank you to all of the amazing women who shared their time and hearts with us on Saturday.  Thank you for making the Rising Strength Farm Flow such an unforgettable day.

Thank you to all of the amazing women who shared their time and hearts with us on Saturday. Thank you for making the Rising Strength Farm Flow such an unforgettable day.

Jamie, thank you for organizing a day that was called “magic” by more than one attendee. We are all blessed to know you and call you a friend! Thank you, Shelly for hosting us on your gorgeous farm.

Thank you, Kia for making it to this event!  So grateful for our friendship that has last long after our ETSU soccer days ended!

Thank you, Kia for making it to this event! So grateful for our friendship that has lasted long after our ETSU soccer days ended!

One of the coolest parts of the day was getting to spend time with women I went to high school with at John Carroll.  Thank you so much for coming it was beyond awesome to see you all!

One of the coolest parts of the day was getting to spend time with women I went to high school with at John Carroll. Thank you so much for coming it was beyond awesome to see you all!

Power of Team- Eckerd College

I recently had the opportunity to speak to the women’s soccer team at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. In addition to telling the story behind Rising Strength the focus of my talk was the power that a team has and the long-lasting impact teammates have on your life that go well beyond the field. It is a friendship with one of my John Carroll School soccer teammates, Ashley Myers, that led to the opportunity to speak with the women’s soccer team at Eckerd College. Ashley was an All-American soccer player in high school and played at Penn State. Today, Ashley coaches youth players in Tampa, Florida at her soccer academy Warrior Soccer Training. Thank you Ash for being so committed to the development of youth soccer players on and off the field and being a great friend.

Eckerd College

It was a huge honor to speak to the women’s soccer team at Eckerd College and meet head coach Danielle Fotopolous. In 1998, I watched Danielle score the game winning goal against the UNC Tarheels to pull off a big upset and win a National Championship. Danielle was a member of the US national team that won the 1999 World Cup and she had the record for most goals and points in the NCAA while playing at the University of Florida. Danielle is an incredible athlete and is certainly a legend in women’s soccer, but to me, one of the most impressive traits about her is her genuine love and concern for her players. Thank you Danielle, the coaching staff and players for being so welcoming and making it a great experience!

Huge thank you to my ETSU Buc teammates, Ashley and Mandie, for hosting me on my trip and coming to hear me speak at Eckerd College.  Your support and friendship mean so much to me.

Huge thank you to my ETSU Buc teammates, Ashley and Mandie, for hosting me on my trip and coming to hear me speak at Eckerd College. Your support and friendship means so much to me.

Two weeks ago I had the chance to spend time with another one of my John Carroll teammates Jamie Weymont. Jamie, Ashley and I were captains on the soccer team our senior year that went undefeated and won a state championship. That season was one of favorite experiences as an athlete. We all moved away after high school and went on to play division 1 soccer out-of-state. Recently, the three of us reconnected and the camaraderie and understanding of each other’s mindsets and goals was palpable. It reminded me of how we were on the field together, it just clicked. Like Ashley, Jamie is giving back and making a difference in people’s lives through teaching and coaching. Jamie still coaches soccer but spends most of her time teaching yoga and meditation. I am so grateful to have both these awesome women in my life and I’m excited for some of the upcoming collaborations I will be working with them on.

Jamie will be teaching a workshop on gratitude and meditation on November 14th. I can’t wait to take part in her class and know it will be an incredible experience. For more information please click the link. Gratitude and Flow

Two Years

Two years ago today, I woke up and went for a run in Johnson City, TN and my life changed forever. I was completely unaware on my run that I was being targeted and followed by a paroled rapist. Later that night, I was attacked in my home by a serial rapist who broke in through a bathroom window and grabbed me while I laid on the couch reading a book.

I am blessed to be here today and that I wasn’t raped that night. I am even more fortunate that through the love and friendship of the people in my life we have been able to turn that horrible night into something that helps others. Thank you to everyone who has supported Rising Strength and encouraged me along the way.

BRR

One week after the attack, I ran a 1/2 marathon in Asheville, NC. While I was running the race I was overcome with feelings of relief and gratitude. I had the same feelings of gratitude and triumph last year when I put together a team to take on the 2014 Blue Ridge Relay to raise awareness for the violence that occurs against women and promote self-defense. We had such a great experience that we decided to do it again!

Last week we took on 208 miles of constant running and some seriously daunting hills to raise awareness for message of Rising Strength. Thank you so much Beth, Teigen, Erik, Ashley, Jamie, Brett, Holly, Melissa and Rett for being on the Rising Strength Blue Ridge Relay team and making it such an incredible experience! Thank you to our sponsors Interstate Container, Evco, Team Kattouf, OralID, Appalachian Federal Community Credit Union, Tri-Cities Nisan and Broyles Florist .

sponsors

In the days leading up to the relay, I had the opportunity to speak to the female athletes at Tusculum College in Greeneville, TN and to a high school class at Happy Valley High School in Elizabethton, TN. I was blown away with how attentive the students were at both schools and the great questions that they had for me. There is so much negativity constantly portrayed in our media about the general apathy and indifference of our generation. It was refreshing to be around young students who prove those negative sentiments false. Thank you to the student athletes at Tusculum College and Happy Valley High School for your attention, kindness and thought provoking questions it was a joy to spend time with you and share my story.

Thank you Jenna Handshoe for setting up the talk at Tusculum College.  Your athletes along with the other team present are wonderful and it was an honor to spend time with them.

Thank you Jenna Handshoe for setting up the talk at Tusculum College. Your athletes along with the other teams that were present are wonderful and it was an honor to spend time with them.

Thank you Adam Copeland for setting up the talk with your students.  I enjoyed speaking with your students and was so impressed with their questions and contributions to the talk.  Your students are very lucky to have a teacher who cares not only about their education but their safety.  Thank you for having me!

Thank you Adam Copeland for setting up the talk with your students. I enjoyed speaking with your students and was so impressed with their questions and contributions to the talk. Your students are very lucky to have a teacher who cares not only about their education but their safety. Thank you for having me!

First Year

IMG_4341

“To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live.”
-Garth Stein

As I look back on the past year and all that has happened and been accomplished, it’s hard to believe that Rising Strength was only started in January. Through the support of many incredible people in my life I was able to share my story and the message of Rising Strength to students and athletes at East Tennessee State University, Emory and Henry College and Belmont University. Hosting self defense classes and running the Blue Ridge Relay provided some of the most unforgettable moments and I am so grateful to all of those who made them possible.

I cannot thank my friends and loved ones enough for the support they have and continue to pour on me as the goals of Rising Strength grow. I am very excited to start 2015 as we plan more talks, announce new partnerships and start preparing for the Blue Ridge Relay.

Huge thank you to the sponsors and supporters who made our goal of running the Blue Ridge Relay possible!
Blue Lizard Sunscreen, ETSU Athletics, Team Kattouf, Mountain Yoga, Interstate Container and Broyles Florist