Our Team

The Safety Team

The Safety Team instructors are extraordinarily knowledgeable ESD experts. Every Safety Team instructor has spent years developing the curriculum and offering workshops, driven by their passion to help people feel safer, as well as more confident and powerful.

Team members have infused The Safety Team with their enthusiasm and their professional expertise from relevant fields like psychology, education, physical therapy, community outreach, business, guardian ad litem, women’s health, and more. This paired with their extensive martial arts background makes The Safety Team curriculum second to none.

Founders

The Safety Team's Christine DiBlasio
Christine DiBlasio, Ph.D., PLC (President, Director of Innovative Programming & Professional Outreach)

Dr. Christine DiBlasio was inspired to study martial arts by her children, over 20 years ago. She currently holds the rank of 5th degree Black Belt in Kempo-JuJitsu. Christine is also a licensed psychologist and the director of a large outpatient, private mental health practice, Stone House Associates. In this capacity, Christine has had the honor of working with many survivors of interpersonal violence and sexual assault. It is this unique combination of expertise (martial arts and psychology) that has led her to develop and teach violence prevention classes (ESD) as well as to create a ground-breaking trauma treatment program (TESD or Therapeutic Empowerment Self-Defense). TESD utilizes a mind-body approach to healing trauma and has received worldwide attention. Christine was recently named USA Today’s Vermont Woman of the Year in recognition of her innovative work in the field of trauma recovery for survivors of violence. Her sense of humor, professional approach, warmth, and compassion help her connect with course participants. Christine welcomes questions or inquiries and can be reached at Christine@TheSafetyTeam.org.

The Safety Team's Nancy Keller
Nancy Keller, EdD., (Director of Research & Program Evaluation)
Nancy Keller has been a student of martial arts since 2002 and a valued member of The Safety Team since 2004. She holds the rank of 4th degree Black Belt in Kempo-JuJitsu, 2nd Degree Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and 3rd Degree Brown Belt in Bushintai-Do, a martial art created especially for practice in public schools. Nancy is also a national board-certified science and mathematics educator with over 30 years of experience teaching both young adolescents and adults. Having integrated Bushintai-Do into her classroom, Nancy has witnessed first-hand the positive influence learning a martial art can have on the lives of students. While students learn and practice the physical skills of self-defense, they also make academic and social/emotional gains. Nancy is known as a warm, patient and encouraging instructor who combines her classroom expertise and martial arts training to help her students grow in self-confidence and independence. She can be reached via email at Nancy@TheSafetyTeam.org.

Executive Director

The Safety Team's Genevieve Henry
Geneviève Henry, CD, ICCE, CMT (Executive Director, Senior Instructor & Trainer)

Geneviève’s (Genie) tenure on TST started when she volunteered over a decade ago, after taking an Empowerment Self-Defense class with her teenage daughter. She subsequently began training in martial arts, ultimately earning a black belt in Kempo-Jujitsu. Genie was later invited to become a professional team member in 2018 and successfully completed training which resulted in certification in all of our signature programs. Genie’s enthusiasm and passion for the topics of empowerment, preventing violence, and promoting healing are inspiring. She has been the senior instructor for programs delivered in various settings, including schools, colleges, businesses and community centers in VT. She has been instrumental in improving our curriculum and is a vital part of our Training and Certification programs for new instructors. Genie has co-led TST’s Therapeutic Empowerment Self-Defense Sessions for survivors of interpersonal and sexual violence. This impactful work in promoting healing has prompted Genie to pursue a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. In addition to her work on TST, Genie has created and successfully developed two businesses which share a focus on women’s health and well-being (Birth Journeys & Massage Journey). Additionally, Genie is a co-founder and guest instructor for the UVM Volunteer Doula program and regularly volunteers at the Family Room, a family center that nurtures a vibrant and diverse community. The constant theme in all this work is Geneviève’s passion for empowering people and promoting equity. She can be reached at Genie@TheSafetyTeam.org.

Senior Instructors & Trainers

The Safety Team's Christina Allard
Christina Allard, PT (Secretary, Director of Adaptive Programming)
Christina began her martial arts training when her daughter was in middle school so that they could share a positive and empowering activity together. She has continued to train regularly and currently holds the rank of Black Belt in Kempo-JuJitsu. As a licensed Physical Therapist, Christina brings expertise about motor planning, physical training and its connection to mental and emotional well-being to the Safety Team workshops. Her work with children in school systems has given her first-hand experience in witnessing how practicing coordinated movements can increase an individual’s sense of confidence and competence; this in turn reinforces her desire to give people who are feeling vulnerable the tools to protect themselves. She can be reached at Tina@TheSafetyTeam.org.
The Safety Team's Eileen Mann
Eileen Mann, Guardian Ad Litem (Vice President, Director of Volunteer Training)
Eileen Mann began training in martial arts with her children and husband at Martial Way Self-Defense Center, where she earned a 1st Degree Brown Belt in Kempo-Jitsu. Eileen joined The Safety Team in 2012 after training for years with the founding members of the team. Over the last decade, Eileen has helped teach close to a hundred workshops, each time being amazed at the positive energy created when women unleash the power of their bodies in concert with their minds. As a member of the Workshop Committee Eileen is constantly looking for ways to improve the Empowerment Self-Defense workshops, working closely with the Safety Team Volunteers whom she sees as the future of the organization. Through her volunteer work as a Guardian Ad Litem, Mrs. Mann engages with children as they come into the DCF and court system, giving voice and support to children when they often feel scared and vulnerable. Eileen believes that everyone has the right to be safe, and her work as both Guardian and with The Safety Team are dedicated to that purpose. You can reach her at Eileen@TheSafetyTeam.org.
The Safety Team's Peg Rieley
Peg Rieley, MBA (Treasurer, Director of Finance)
With 30+ years as an entrepreneur and business owner, Peg brings her business and marketing expertise to the Team. Peg got her first introduction to The Safety Team when she and her eldest daughter participated in a workshop.  The organization’s mission struck a chord, promoting many of the tenets that Peg holds dear; strength, community, safety and well-being, women’s empowerment, and positive change.  Peg holds a purple belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate and has also trained in Taekwondo. Peg and her husband own and operate a commercial and residential real estate development business.  She can be reached at Peg@TheSafetyTeam.org

Certified ESD Instructors

Kate Williams
Kate Williams

Kate Williams started taking kempo jujitsu classes in December 2016. She absolutely adored hitting
and kicking things, and relished in the power and strength she never knew she had. She became a
black belt in 2022, and has since found joy in helping others discover their own strength and power.
She is also a master puppeteer for Vermont Family Network’s Puppets In Education. She travels to
schools across Vermont and upstate New York, performing critical social-emotional learning and safety
programming for PK-6 students.

Dale Henry
Dale Henry
Dale Henry started volunteering with The Safety Team when she was 14 years old and is now a certified
ESD instructor in Levels 1 & 2. She identifies as a person in long-term recovery and a lifelong learner.
Dale has experience working with people managing substance abuse, trauma, housing, and mental
health challenges. She is a certified Recovery Coach through the Turning Point Center of Chittenden
County and a Mental Health Technician in the UVM Medical Center Emergency Department. She is
passionate about helping people overcome their obstacles and make meaningful changes in their
lives, achieving transformative personal growth which fuels her work with The Safety Team.
Sarah Carbonneau
Sarah Carbonneau

Sarah Carbonneau started volunteering with The Safety Team in 2022 after attending a Level 1 workshop at Gordon Window Decor, where she works.  She was struck by the power that she has in her body and is passionate about empowering other women.  

Sarah is the first certified Safety Team Instructor with no formal martial arts experience outside of training with The Safety Team…as she says “I only have the regular kind of belts, but I really like hitting things! “ Participants love Sarah’s warm and supportive teaching style and sense of humor that keeps everyone smiling. Sarah graduated from UVM majoring in Women’s Studies and finds working with The Safety Team is a positive way to support women in our community.

Instructor in Training

Emily Joyce
Sparrow Wilder
Caroline Sprigg

 

 

 

Board of Directors

Helen Cabot-McCarthy – Interim Chair
Christine DiBlasio, Ph.D., PLC – President
Eileen Mann –Vice President
Peg Rieley, MBA – Treasurer
Christina Allard, PT – Secretary
Nancy Keller, EdD
Meg Clark, MBA
Betsy Jaffe, MD-Ph.D

President’s Letter

Dr. Christine DiBlasio, Board President and The Safety Team Co-Founder

Welcome!

In graduate school, I had a professor who was fond of saying that life is a series of accidents. At the time it seemed ominous; now it seems wise.

Over 23 years ago, I started training in martial arts. I had no motive other than the desire to be a part of something that my daughters were doing. From the very first lesson, I was hooked. Hitting pads was far more fun than I realized, and I became stronger, more fit, more coordinated, and more present in my body. Through the pairing of voice with strikes, I learned how to amplify my power. I grew in my confidence to set and maintain boundaries— and I had fun!

I never dreamed that I would become engaged in violence prevention efforts with The Safety Team for over 20 years, nor that I would incorporate martial arts with my professional therapy work with trauma survivors.

Yet, I have experienced firsthand how mindful movement of one’s body under conditions of safety can be empowering, healing, and transformative while also reducing your risk for interpersonal violence. This knowledge, along with the impressive professional expertise that each TST member brings to our programs, makes every TST class truly exceptional.

Our team is SO fortunate to have an incredible group of dedicated instructors, volunteers, board members, and community supporters. Our program is built upon our collective professional knowledge, and fueled by our shared passion to make the world better and safer for all.

We are ordinary women doing extraordinary things, changing the world one empowered person at a time.

Join us!

“It doesn’t matter what you can offer – I really think that every person out there can help move this movement forward in their own way, in their own communities.”
-Dr. Christine DiBlasio, PAVE Disrupting the Dominoes

I wholeheartedly believe in your power and your right to be safe.

Christine DiBlasio, Ph.D.

The Safety Team Showed Me…

  • Stop being polite when I know I’d rather enforce my boundaries.
  • Be confident with what my body and voice can do.
  • Listen to my intuition.
  • Use my voice, get loud, not be afraid, use my body!

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