Editor’s note: This story was updated to report the cancellation of the September class.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office will host several free self-defense classes thanks to a collaboration between several service agencies in the county.

Mahoning County Prosecutor Gein DeGenova announced Thursday the launch of her new program: Self Defense Trauma Informed Outreach Program (STOP), which will provide safety tips and self-defense training.

According to the prosecutor’s office, tens of thousands of people fall victim to aggravated assault each year.

“While my office prosecutes those who commit these crimes, I also believe we have an obligation to educate and provide our residents with the skills they need to recognize a
dangerous situation and how to help stop it,” DeGenova said.

The classes will be taught by Mercy Health Chief of Police and certified self-defense instructor Ryan Bonacci.

The classes will be offered several times a year. The class scheduled for September 7 at the Andrews Student Recreation & Wellness Center at Youngstown State University was canceled due to “unforeseen circumstances, according to DeGenova. However, there will be sessions open to the public on Oct. 4 at the Community Literacy Workforce and Cultural Center in Campbell and a later course on November 1 at the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown.

All participants will receive a free t-shirt. YSU students will additionally get a drink cover.

The STOP program is a collaboration between Mercy Health, YSU Campus Recreation, COMPASS Family & Community Services and the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation.

For more information and to register your interest for future sessions, visit the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office website. Also, if your organization would like to host a class, email the prosecutor’s office at: prosecutor@mahoningcountyoh.gov.