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Morning Sun
  • Self defense training helps raise funds

  • More than 125 people attended a dual event dedicated to the idea that violent attacks shouldn’t be things that just happen to women.

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  • More than 125 people attended a dual event dedicated to the idea that violent attacks shouldn’t be things that just happen to women.
    The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority partnered up to bring TAKE Defense Training to Pittsburg and also to raise money for the foundation that offers the program.
    TAKE’s origin is tragic.
    Ali Kemp was a 19-year-old from Johnson County who was murdered while working at a neighborhood pool.
    Her father, Roger Kemp, said during the first few weeks after the event an acquaintance reminded him that “this type of thing happens.”
    “It was like, ‘I’m not going to accept this,’” Kemp said. “We’re going to start putting a stop to the senseless violence in our society.”
    The TAKE Foundation began in 2005 with the goal of training women how to protect themselves.
    “If we save one person’s life, it is worth it,” Kemp said.
    The cause is dear to both Sigma Phi Epsilon and Sigma Sigma Sigma.
    Roger Kemp, Ali’s father, is a Sigma Phi Epsilon alumnus and the fraternity adopted the cause as one of its national philanthropies.
    “Roger Kemp came and asked nationals to adopt it,” said Michael Saldivar, vice president of programing at Sigma Phi Epsilon.
    Additionally, Kate and Kendra Fox knew Ali as their babysitter while growing up. Through their connections as part of the Pitt State chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma, they helped begin a fashion show to raise money for the philanthropy.
    “Some of our chapter alumni were very close to Ali,” said Katie George, chairwoman of the Ali Kemp philanthropy at Sigma Sigma Sigma. “We are one of the few universities that create this event as a fundraiser for the foundation instead of just a class.”
    Women in the sorority, as well as area high school girls, had fun walking the runway and modeling colorful formalware during the season leading up to formals and proms. Men from Sigma Phi Epsilon also took to the runway with and without the women.
    The event then transitioned as the runway was rolled up and the chairs were cleared away so women could learn how to protect themselves in the worst of situations.
    George said she has attended the training each year and finds it helpful to renew.
    “All of it is pretty valuable,” she said. “Every year, you forget little things.”
    George said instructors Jill and Bob Leiker took the time to go through the different moves and to talk about which ones will help women of different heights.
    The Leikers taught the motto, “You have it in you,” for the women to remember when defending themselves.
    Page 2 of 2 - “If the unthinkable happens, and I hope it doesn’t, we’re going to help you get home at night,” Bob Leiker told those taking the class.
    George also said the instructors gave women hints to help with their safety going forward, including putting men’s shoes by the door if they are living by themselves so that potential intruders will think a man lives there.
    At the end of the afternoon, many women were trained to defend themselves and more than $1,400 was raised for the foundation through a variety of fundraisers at the event.
    “That’s a huge improvement for us,” George said.
    She and Saldivar said the total raised the previous year was about $400.
    Additional reporting by Andrew Nash
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