Updated: Apr 13
As we reflect on this past year of unprecedented challenges faced by so many, SASS Go is steadfast in its dedication to serving survivors and our mission to eradicate assault, abuse, and trafficking. You have stood with us every single step of the way, and TOGETHER we have made a big impact!
TOGETHER WE DEFEND
The year started off full speed ahead! By March, we reached 600 women and girls in our empowered self-defense programs in communities from California to the Carolinas. The mandatory COVID-19 shutdown had big impacts on everyone, and we were not exempt. Even so, knowing that demand for our services never stops and seeing the increase in frequency and intensity of assault and abuse due to COVID-19, we developed virtual curricula to GO to everyone. Recently, with necessary precautions in place, SASS Go resumed some in person trainings in places where conditions are more favorable. Since then, we have reached nearly 200 more women and girls, equipping them with the physical and mental skills to predict, prevent, and respond to violence.
TOGETHER WE EDUCATE
With the addition of our virtual curricula, we are reaching even more communities with critical education to keep ourselves and those we love safe. We now offer online courses for college girls (College Essentials), women ages 16 and up (10 Critical Skills to Save Your Life), and parents of elementary school girls (Protecting Your Little Girl) and middle school girls (The Middle School Mind). In addition, our instructors came together to lead the online Workouts & Wisdom series to keep our moves sharp and our bodies strong.
These virtual programs have reached 1000 individuals in communities and schools across the country and in South Africa, as well as organizations serving women and girls. We have served organizations such as Hubbard House, who houses 150 women and children escaping assault and abuse, I-Lead Self Defense, Pretty Girls Sweat, Kappa Alpha Theta, and more. And while we much prefer to be in person, we sure did love seeing so many smiling faces across our screens!
We also launched our expert speakers series at the University of South Carolina. Sassters joined virtually to hear from journalist and change-maker Gretchen Carlson, safety and threat assessment expert James Hamilton, domestic violence expert Julie Owens, legal expert Amos Guiora, and survivor and advocate Jon Vaughn. These formidable forces shared their time and talents to better prepare us to advocate for and protect ourselves.
Finally, SASS Go shared valuable knowledge and raised awareness as to its efforts and mission through speaking opportunities at Rotary Clubs, church groups, the Own It Summit at Georgetown University, and features on podcasts, including the Apple Podcasts Nonprofit Leadership Podcast (June 6, 2020) and the Speak Strength Podcast (Episode 7). We are grateful to all the change makers who made these opportunities a reality and are helping to share our mission!
TOGETHER WE GROW
Because of your generosity, SASS Go continues to expand the scope of its reach and its services. In February, we held a National Instructor Training in Columbia, SC, and after three rigorous phases of training, we certified 7 new instructors. With the addition of these passionate and determined women, SASS Go now has a force of 25 licensed instructors who have shared SASS self-defense training with women and girls in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
But we didn't stop there! With virtual programming, SASS Go has the ability to reach across the world, and with your support, we did just that!
In September, we were honored to reach across continents with i-LEAD Self Defense to help end assault, abuse, and trafficking globally. On this special day, women from South Africa and neighboring countries joined with SASS Go to learn critical skills through our virtual course: 10 Critical Skills to Save Your Life. SASS Go also had the opportunity to connect with nonprofit organizations doing great work for women in India and Liberia. As we continue to develop these relationships and others, your support is critical to helping us reach women and girls across the globe.
Not only did we expand our geographic footprint, we also expanded our service offerings. In addition to our virtual courses and expert speaker series, SASS Go now offers the Recognize Respond Refer professional training series. This educational initiative provides specialized training to front-line service providers who are integral to survivor care. Each seminar is tailored for law enforcement, medical personnel, or legal professionals.
We also further developed our consulting services for survivors, their families, and the institutions that serve them. This year, we helped to provide critical information and support for those navigating the legal, medical, advocacy, counseling, and criminal justice systems helping to ensure preservation of options, provide a supportive community, and solidify the truth that they are always #worthfightingfor. Through social media, our website, and our network of instructors, SASS Go is also highlighting free and anonymous resources for those looking for information and support. You can find a list of those resources here.
TOGETHER WE GIVE
In a year packed with giving firsts, you have shown up big to help support SASS Go's mission and the women and girls we serve. In February, SASS Go launched its first ever campaign to encourage monthly donors and are grateful to all of you who spread your support over the course of the year. With just a little every month, you have made a BIG difference. Another first was our participation in Midlands Gives! Our supporters helped raise nearly $18,000 and showed up big again on Giving Tuesday, raising over $4,400 more!
Adding to our list of firsts, during Cycle for SASS at CycleBar Forest Acres and Shop & Sip at fab'rik Columbia, our Sassters cycled and shopped with purpose, raising awareness and much needed funds. This year also marked our first ever online Auction for Action to end assault, abuse, and trafficking. Over 250 businesses and individuals participated as sponsors, donors, and bidders to do their part to support our mission! The kick-off event at Tombo Grille and the Auction helped raise awareness of the crisis of violence against women and the critical work SASS Go does to address it, while also raising over $11,000 to support our mission. Another first and another success! To see all the local businesses who supported the auction, click here.
In addition, we are grateful to have received support for the first time from the Red Backpack Fund by The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation, the Greater Chapin Community Foundation, Dominion Energy, and the Central Carolina Community Foundation's Cheerful Giver. We thank these generous foundations and businesses for doing their part to bring about meaningful change in the world.
We are grateful for the generosity of every single person who supports our mission. Whether you give your time, your resources, your prayers, or your powerful voice to spread awareness, every single gift is critical to helping us GO! To learn more about the many ways you can support SASS Go, click here.
TOGETHER WE PLAY
Even during social distancing, Sassters found a way to play (virtually)! To keep the ball rolling to eradicate violence and remind everyone just how strong, purposed, and loved they are, Sassters decided to have a little fun. If you missed it, you can check out the video here!
TOGETHER WE GO
When we started the nonprofit organization, we knew that we needed to take the heart and soul of SASS, Surviving Assault Standing Strong, and GO everywhere. But never could we have imagined just how far we would go on a tight budget within these first two years! In two years, we have trained and educated over 5,000 individuals, 50% of them at a free or reduced cost. We have increased our instructor force by 225%, shared SASS in 17 states and the District of Columbia, and even expanded our services to include virtual education and crisis response consulting. WOW!
While we celebrate our successes, we know that our work is nowhere near finished. As we look forward to 2021, we know with your help we can amplify these efforts to serve countless more survivors by reaching into the heart of communities with the training and education to safeguard precious lives. We thank you now for your support in getting us here and we look forward to standing with you as we move boldly into the new year and continue to GO eradicate assault, abuse, and trafficking globally!