Published 3:37 p.m. ET Oct. 5, 2022
CHARLTON — In the six years after the death of Leominster native Vanessa T. Marcotte, a partnership between the nonprofit foundation honoring Vanessa’s name and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office has provided hundreds of women with free hands-on self-defense training.
In the summer of 2016, Marcotte was walking near her family’s home in Princeton when she was attacked and murdered only half a mile from the home. The foundation was created the following year to prevent tragedies like this one from ever happening again.
On Sept. 20 at The Overlook in Charlton, the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office partnered again for their annual free self-defense workshop for women. The workshop initiative has existed since 2018, and this year nearly 40 participants were in attendance.
“The Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation does remarkable work here in Worcester County,” said Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis. “The collaboration between the Sheriff’s Office and the Marcotte Foundation is very special. Together, we have worked to sponsor many workshops over the years and provided free self-defense training to hundreds of women.”
Attendees practiced realistic self-defense tactics, situational awareness, and approaches to handling a confrontation both physically and mentally. Female correctional officers from the Worcester County Jail and House of Corrections facilitated the workshop.
“We are honored to partner with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office on self-defense workshops,” said Caroline Tocci, co-founder of the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation. “Our safety awareness programs empower participants and teach important skills.”
“This was one of the best self-defense classes that I have attended,” explained one attendee. “By first showing the group the move and then practicing it, our instructors created a comfortable environment to prepare for a possibly uncomfortable situation in the future.”
Two friends who attended the class explained that they enjoyed the opportunity to participate in live drills and the ability to ask questions along the way. Further, they commended the staff for running participants through realistic drills and unique situations they would have never thought to find themselves in.
The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Training Staff was on site to facilitate the workshop with the female correctional officers. In total, nearly 15 members of the Sheriff’s Office were in attendance. Members of the Marcotte family and representatives from the foundation also attended.
For more information on the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation, please visit www.VTMF.org.
The Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office partnered again for their annual free self-defense workshop for women.