Sara K. Johnson, BA in Communication Arts, WomenStrength Director
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.
Carolyne Haycraft, M.Ed and MFA in Theatre Directing, GirlStrength Director
Carolyne became a volunteer WomenStrength instructor in 2008 with a focus of bringing violence prevention skills to young women. She became the GirlStrength Director in late 2008. Carolyne holds a black belt in both Shotokan Karate and Tae Kwon Do.
In her current role, Carolyne supervises 25 volunteer instructors, develops partnerships in the commuity (including schools, community centers and community based organizations) and oversees the development and creation of the GirlStrength curriculum. With her background in theatre and drama, Carolyne has infused the 14 hour program with hands on activities that create experiential learning and engage girls about violence prevention topics in a fun and safe learning environment. Most recently, she has expanded the GirlStrength Program to serve the needs of elementary and high school girls. Under Carolyne’s leadership, GirlStrength has provided self-defense training and skills to over 4, 500 girls ages 10-17.
Carolyne currently serves on the Diversity Inclusion Council Committee for the Portland Police Bureau and has a passion for social justice. She has presented at local and statewide conferences on why teaching violence prevention in schools is important, the role of assertiveness in violence prevention and establishing peace. One of her most recent accomplishments includes completing the Graduate Teaching Program at Portland State University, where she earned her Masters of Education and her Oregon Teacher’s License to teach at the middle and high school levels.