Project Intrepid: Company Spotlight

Meet Rye Rothman: A Teenager Who Is Committed to Giving Her Community Access to Free Self-Defense Training 

What do you do when you’re a 16-year-old girl who is tired of the threat of sexual assault and violence? You create an organization committed to helping vulnerable populations learn self-defense skills—and give them access to tools they can use to stay safe. That’s what Rye Rothman is doing with her teenage years, and we find it incredibly inspirational.

Rye founded Project Intrepid to give the Boulder, Colorado community (and beyond) access to free personal safety training and self-defense tools. She reached out to Mace® Brand for support—along with a host of other experts in the personal safety space. And she’s using her hard-earned babysitting money to help fund the initiative. 

To say we were amazed by this young lady is an understatement. Here’s what she had to say when we spoke with her recently.

Why did you start Project Intrepid?

I want to make self-protection accessible to everybody. I was looking for self-defense classes because Boulder, Colorado can be dangerous. As much as I love living in Boulder, violence is a real issue that I've seen my whole life, and there are too many people who can't afford self-defense classes.

From the start, I knew I wanted to offer free hands-on self-defense instruction, but I also hoped to give people something physical they could take home to help protect themselves. That’s when I asked for help from Mace® Brand.

What are you offering the community?

Our first Project Intrepid event will include self-defense training from Rachel Mahloch, the founder of Battle Woman Self Defense, a group that teaches women how to plan for and respond to attacks and advances. We’ll also be handing out free Mace® Brand pepper spray. Mace also provided water trainers, so we can work on educating people on how to use pepper spray properly. 

How are you getting the word out? 

All summer, I’ve been putting up posters offering a free self-defense class—just scan a code of the sign right here to register. I’ve been putting them at bus stops, around homeless and women’s shelters, and on the street. 

I’ve also been promoting our first event to fast food restaurants. I’m targeting the people who haven't had access to this before. I want to make sure that they know it's accessible. We want to give people a fighting chance and a feeling of self-worth. I want them to feel okay about going outside and facing dangerous situations. 

What else should people know about Project Intrepid?

I've been saving up babysitting money to pay for this—and I’ve crushed my bank account. I’ve been working and spending on this project, and I'm doing it because I genuinely believe that it could change people's lives. That's why I'm not giving up and not slowing down. There’s so much ahead of me, so much work to do, and I'm not going to stop. 

It’s unfair that people face violence without resources to help them. After someone spends two hours with us having a good time learning how to protect themselves, they’ll leave feeling strong and happy. Plus, they’ll have a gift bag full of stickers and a little pink canister of Mace® Brand pepper spray. And they’ll leave knowing their worth—that's what I truly want for people. 

You can support Project Intrepid and help Rye Rothman on her mission to keep people safe.

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