Power Up program continues to grow

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Norman Brunkhorst of the American Family Charities of American Family Insurance Company donated $500 to Sarah Fuehring's self-defense program Power Up. Fuehring said the donation will go towards a projector and a laptop for use during the class lesson portion of the program. American Family Charities donates about $12,000 a year and determines recipients from submitted donation requests quarterly, Brunkhorst said. The next donation recipient will be decided upon in September.

When Sarah Fuehring started the Power Up self defense program in Concordia, she knew the work was important to her. She had no idea how much it would mean to others.

In its first year Fuehring's program has already reached 550 women, teaching them not only the basics of self-defense, but also self-empowerment.

The impact of the program has been so great, in fact, that people outside the Concordia area are taking notice.

Last week Fuehring was on the road, taking the program to Branson for the annual Missouri Sheriff's Association conference.

"They wanted us to teach their wives and daughters," she said.

Fuehring said sheriffs from across the state were impressed by the presentation and wanted to know how to bring it to their communities.

"Just because we're from these little towns doesn't mean that we can't do really big things," she said.

Speaking about the program with the Concordia Lions Club, Fuehring said the $1,000 donation the Lion's Club made to the program last year allowed her to purchase pads and targets needed to complete the program. To repay the community, she then donated $1,000 worth of her time to offer the Power Up program free to 41 girls in local high schools.

Other organizations are taking notice of the program as well. American Family Insurance recently made a donation of $500 that will be used to help with the costs of purchasing a laptop computer and projector used during the classroom portion of the program.

Although she has already accomplished a lot, Fuehring is moving forward and setting new goals. Fuehring said she recently was certified to teach the course to children.

Like the course for women, the children's program is as much about empowerment as it is about defense.

"We build them up from the inside," she said. "We teach them that abuse is never their fault and they can tell they are hurt."

The children's program also has unique features that address bullying, dog safety and bicycle safety, Fuehring said. Although it is still in the planning stages, Fuehring said it is her goal to have the program presented in Concordia's schools in the near future.

In order to do so, new equipment will have to be purchased, however. Fuehring said while she can use some of the material from the adult course, the padding is generally too large for children.

Expressing their support, members of the Lions Club told Fuehring to return when she knew what she would need.

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