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THRIVE Empowerment Center to celebrate grand opening of new Covington training facility May 1

THRIVE Empowerment Center will celebrate the opening of their new permanent space at 226 West Pike Street in Covington with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 1. Beginning Monday, May 3, the Center will host a variety of antiviolence and assault-resistance education classes. Therapeutic programming, designed to foster resilience and promote healing in trauma survivors, will also be offered.

“Our primary goals are to help women, children, and other vulnerable populations access their strength to prevent, interrupt, or heal from violence and to be part of positive cultural change in the Greater Cincinnati area,” said Lauren Bailey, a Fort Mitchell resident and one of two co-founders and instructors at THRIVE Empowerment Center.

Solving a Problem; Following a Passion

Lauren Bailey, right, and Lindsey Ross (Photo provided

As black-belt martial artists, Lindsey Ross, who grew up in Florence and is now a Blue Ash, Ohio, resident, and Lauren Bailey were often asked by other women where they could find a local self-defense class for themselves or their children. Until the advent of THRIVE Empowerment Center in 2020, women in the Greater Cincinnati area interested in self-defense had to wait for a martial arts dojo or police department to host one—no self-defense classes were regularly offered. When a class was available, the curriculum largely focused on “stranger danger” rather than the reality that 80 percent of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone known to the victim. Typical self-defense classes also did not address the trauma that students may have already endured. These events were also offered so infrequently that there was no opportunity for students to practice the techniques they learned.

Women who have been victims of assault or abuse are often afraid to seek help, convinced they cannot defend themselves, or disconnected from their own bodies and emotions, but—as Dr. Judith Herman explores in her seminal work Trauma and Recovery (Basic, 2015)—they need community and personal agency to recover and move forward. Those who’ve not yet experienced violence but are looking for preparation may not be interested in practicing a martial art or may be intimidated by police-led courses.

“Our programs are for everyone,” said Lindsey Ross, “even if you aren’t an assault survivor or don’t identify with that label. But it’s important to us that the community knows that no matter what neighborhood they come from or what their experiences are, THRIVE is a safe, fun, and accepting space made for you.”

“The ladies at Thrive do such an incredible job at making a potentially stressful environment a comfortable one. As a victim advocate for university-aged students, I’ve seen firsthand what this level of empowerment can do for survivors. By creating a safe space to share and learn, survivors and allies are able to build confidence and strength,” said Madesyn DeVivo, the Miami University campus advocate from Women Helping Women. “I wish all my clients could take their classes.”

THRIVE Programming

The heart of THRIVE is Empowerment Self-Defense training (ESD)—an evidence-based curriculum that addresses mental and verbal safety in addition to physical safety. ESD is informed by research about the specific types of violent crimes faced by women, children, and other people at risk for gender-based violence.

At the Center, weekly classes will include principles of empowerment (THRIVE’s basic ESD skills class), as well as targeted offerings like verbal boundary setting, defense from a ground position, and therapeutic writing and yoga. Seminars for special populations (teens, mother/daughter pairs, college students) will also be offered monthly beginning this fall.

In addition to the classes taught on-site, THRIVE’s instructors travel to college campuses, high schools, teams and clubs, and businesses to offer customized empowerment and safety workshops.
THRIVE Empowerment Center

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