Sydney Viloria
9th Grade Academy Guidance Counselor
East Boston High School

The IMPACT:Ability program at East Boston High School was a great success! The female students who participated in the program started off timid and vulnerable, but finished confident and secure. They grew more and more comfortable with the application of their new learned skills with each passing week. The young ladies learned skills in self-advocacy, self-defense and self-awareness. They were very proud of themselves at the end of the program and wished the IMPACT:Ability program could have continued!

Immediately after the conclusion of the program, one young lady told me: “I now feel confident taking the MBTA by myself. If a situation arises, I’ll know how to handle it!” Another young lady said: “I can’t wait to tell my parents what I’ve learned. They are going to be so proud of me, and they aren’t going to worry as much when I’m out by myself.”

Toward the end of the school year, one of the student participants in the IMPACT:Ability program told me about a situation she found herself in on the MBTA. She told me about an older man, in his 20’s, that got her attention. According to the female student, the man tried very hard to engage her in conversation. After she politely told him she didn’t want to chat, the man proceeded to move closer toward the female student and attempted to slip her his phone number. It was at that time when the young lady utilized all the skills she learned in the IMPACT:Ability program. First, she used her self-awareness skills by realizing that she was in a situation that wasn’t healthy for her, and potentially dangerous. Next, she used her self-advocacy skills by telling the older man that she was still in high school and not interested in him. Finally, she used her self-defense skills by putting her hand up, telling the man – “STOP!” She then got up and moved her seat! The man didn’t say anything else to her after that!

It’s testimonials like the ones shared by the participants that truly make the IMPACT:Ability program a success – and a necessity!