Twentynine Palms -- MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — Each year the Family and Victim Advocate Office hosts a Teen Dating Violence Awareness workshop that spans the month of February. The workshop is held to raise awareness about teen dating violence as well as provide attendees of the workshop with the tools and resources to protect themselves.
“Everybody should know how to defend themselves,” said Natasha Ratchford, the Family and Victim Advocate and coordinator of the events throughout the month. “Everybody should talk about and be aware of the possibility of dangerous situations, whether it be in dating or day-to-day life.”
Several events are held throughout the month to include a talent show and a self defense class. Marine Corps Community Services and American Friends of our Armed Forces helps fund and coordinate the events.
“The kids think it’s fun,” Ratchford said. “Engaging them increases the likelihood of them receiving the message because they enjoy the activity that goes along with what we are trying to bring awareness to.”
The most popular part of the workshop is the self defense class. The class is taught by Mark Geletko, the boxing coach for the installation’s Mixed Martial Arts Fight Club 29. Geletko teaches the parents and their children Maui Thai, Kickboxing and Western Boxing. This class gives families the opportunity to learn how to handle themselves in the event a dangerous situation arises.
“It gives myself and my son knowledge and a baseline for self defense” said Staff Sgt. Rose Reed, a participant in the workshop. “It also gives me a chance to bond with him outside of home”.
Not only does this event give families the opportunity to learn basic martial arts skills with which to defend themselves from an enemy, it is a fun hands on activity that keeps everyone interested.
For more information on these events call the Family and Victim Advocate Office at 760-830-6345 or visit them at building 1438. Geletko also hosts classes throughout the year for children as young as 13 and for wives of any age. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 760-567-4438.