Carolyne Haycraft, M.Ed, MFA
Carolyne began her career in the movement to end gendered violence as a volunteer instructor for the WomenStrength program in 2008. That same year, she was hired to oversee the GirlStrength program. She has been teaching adults, boys and girls of all ages and backgrounds for over twenty years in New York City, Chicago, Madison and her new home, Portland.
Prior to GirlStrength, Carolyne was an acting and theatre instructor using drama as a tool for transformation and change in communities, schools and universities. Her acting, improvisation, directing and theatre classes were designed to explore issues related to oppression and equity. After graduating from the first BA in Theatre program in Australia, Carolyne moved to Canada on the nation’s Student Work Abroad Program (SWAP).
Carolyne went back to further her education in acting and improvisation in New York City. It was in New York that she discovered she loved teaching and spent one year teaching English as a second language at Baruch College, while seeking a career as an actor.
In 1999 Carolyne moved to Madison, Wisconsin to study directing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was in Madison she discovered that acting and theatre were powerful teaching tools to help students learn other topics that could improve their awareness and understanding of the world around them.
After Graduating from the University of Madison, she was hired to be the Director of Theatre at the University of Wisconsin-Rock County. During that time she produced and directed plays and taught courses in acting and public speaking. During this time she devoted her life outside of the theatre to learning Taekwon-Do and teaching children. Carolyne was a cofounder of the Universal Taekwon Federation in Madison, WI, focused on bringing martial arts to children from low socioeconomic backgrounds by providing it in their local communities. While living in Madison, Carolyne was also a part-time drama and theatre instructor for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Continuing Education and Outreach Program, providing children and youth from all socio-economic backgrounds access to acting and theatre classes.
In her current role as a Crime Prevention Administrator and GirlStrength Director, Carolyne supervises, mentors and trains volunteer violence prevention instructors. As the GirlStrength Director and representative of the Portland Police Bureau, she works hard to develop partnerships with community organizations that serve youth. Carolyne oversees the development and evolution of GirlStrength’s culturally competent curriculum, and most recently, developed a comparable trauma informed curriculum for boys, 10-14 years of age. BoyStrength was cofounded by Carolyne Haycraft and Sara Johnson, WomenStrength Director, in December, 2013 with the support and guidance of the command staff of Portland Police Bureau. Under their leadership, the BoyStrength program entered its first pilot stage from April-July, 2013. To date, GirlStrength and BoyStrength have provided violence prevention training and skills to over 5,000 girls ages 10-17 and 200 boys ages 10-14 in the Portland metro area.
Carolyne currently serves on the Equity Leadership Council for the Portland Police Bureau and is a member and representative of the Portland Police Bureau on the Prevention and Education Committee for the Oregon Sexual Assault Task Force. She is also a trained Safety Zone facilitator, a program for people with cognitive disabilities offered through the Family Services Division. She is long standing member of the East Portland Inspiring Change Committee, an organization designed to reduce substance abuse and violence in East Portland.
Sara K. Johnson, BA in Communication Arts
Sara became a WomenStrength volunteer in 2001 and the program director in 2005. She currently trains in Krav Maga, a combat self-defense system used by the Israeli armed forces and has previously trained in Shotokan Karate.
In 2008 she founded the GirlStrength program for girls ages 10-14 based on a need in our community. In her current role as director of WomenStrength, Sara supervises 40 volunteer instructors, develops curriculum, creates community partnerships (including private and public companies, community centers and churches) teaches safety workshops and self-defense classes. She has facilitated over 400 co-ed safety workshops for women and men. Since 2005, Sara has trained over 8,500 participants on personal safety topics and self-defense skills including: relationship violence, assertiveness skills, de-escalation and options to escape from dangerous situations. In the 34 years of program success, WomenStrength has provided self-defense training for over 30,000 women and teenage girls.
Sara is part of the Alliance for a Safer Community (Formerly Sexual Minorities Round Table), where she represents the Police Bureau and provides insight into safety needs for the LGBTQII community. She has presented at local and statewide conferences on the subject of holistic self-defense and the safety of survivors. Under Sara's leadership, the WomenStrength program has expanded to include a full-length Spanish program while also exploring curriculum for students with diabilities.
Delving into her knowledge of safety, one of Sara’s recent projects has been working on a national project to provide safety prevention and intervention for home care workers. She is co-developer of computer based training for this project and teacher for an expert led class on de-escalation. This project is sponsered by OHSU and Johns Hopkins Univerisity. Sara's passion for ending violence against women and girls lends itself to her intense dedication of teaching safety skills to everyone.