Dani Villalobos

A Soft-Spoken Woman Finds Her Voice

When I decided to stay in the Bay Area and live on my own, safety became a real concern for me. I became obsessed with crime statistics and police reports for the last five years of an area before I agreed to put down a deposit and commit to an apartment. I trained in martial arts for years but even as I advanced in ranks the fear did not subside.

Finally I decided to take an Impact class and I discovered that while I knew how to be polite - kind, even - I did not know how to ask to be left alone. It wasn’t something I’d picked up in school or martial arts, and it wasn’t something I realized I’d been missing until I started class . Wow, was I glad to have figured that out in a safe, respectful environment!

Asking to be left alone - to occupy my physical space - takes many forms, it turns out. Where I expected to simply add to my physical techniques I picked up so much more. I learned decision making and boundary setting skills that have enriched my career and my personal life, and I am more and more comfortable in using these verbal skills knowing that I have physical goods that deliver should I ever need them - and I haven’t had to use them!

Now as a member of the board, and an instructor-in-training, I feel a deep, personal commitment to the nonprofit that has given me so much. I am proud to be a member of this community and want to see its mission thrive, and am particularly invested in developing Spanish curriculum to serve the dayworker population in the Bay Area.