The Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office is launching a new self-defense training program.

Under the STOP program, which stands for Self-Defense Trauma Informed Outreach Program, folks will receive tips and training on the essential components of self defense in a safe trauma-informed environment.

The program will cover three core components: education on local laws and local victim services, awareness and confidence building and physical training. All of this will be taught with a goal of enabling participants to use the skills they learned in response to any potential violent conflict or incident.

The program was developed through collaborations with many local service providers like Mercy Health, YSU Campus Recreation, COMPASS Family & Community Services and the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation.

The course will be taught by Mercy Health Police Chief and certified self-defense instructor, Ryan Bonacci and will be offered multiple times a year in various parts of the county.

The first session will be held at YSU’s Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center on Thursday, September 7 at 5:30 p.m.

The first session is for YSU students, but there will be another session open to the general public on October 4 at the Community Literacy Workforce and Cultural Center in Campbell on October 4 and another will be held at the Jewish Community Center in Youngstown on November 1.

Participants at the YSU session will receive a free t-shirt and drink cover. Participants in all other sessions will receive a free t-shirt. There is no fee to take the class.

Anyone interested in registering for any of these sessions may do so here. At this time registration is only open for the YSU session, but you can sign up for notifications on when registration opens up for other sessions.