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Children learn when to say ‘no’ to adults in YMCA program

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By Carol A. Clark

Kicking, screaming, breaking free and dashing towards the nearest telephone to alert 9-1-1 are lifelines mastered by young graduates of a dynamic new program at The Family YMCA.“This will stay with you for the rest of your life,” certified instructor Lisa Gonzales said of the strategic techniques taught in the R.A.D. (Resisting Aggression Defensively) course, which concluded Saturday.R.A.D. is a personal empowerment safety education and violence prevention program for children. The program is offered free of charge through a partnership between the YMCA, Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and Los Alamos Police Department.During Saturday’s graduation ceremony in the YMCA gymnasium, Cpl. Oliver Morris, also R.A.D. certified, donned a bright red protective suit to demonstrate for parents the quick and forceful reaction their children now take to a stranger’s unwanted advances.Morris approached each child with ploys:• “Hi ... can you help me find my dog?” • “Your mom told me to pick you up.”• “Can you help me find my wallet?”• “Come here, I want to show you something.”Each 8- to 12-year-old sprang into survival mode.


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