COLUMBIA STREET WATERFRONT DISTRICT — Most children, and adults, would say a stranger is someone who you don’t know. But that isn’t always the case.
At Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a stranger is defined as “someone who your parents don’t give you permission to talk to,” said Josh Skyer, head instructor and owner of the Columbia Street dojo that is hosting a street-safety workshop for children on Nov. 15.
“People that we see every day could be strangers,” Skyer said. “Especially in New York City.”
The free “Stranger Danger Education” class will teach children ages 6 to 12 about identifying a stranger and protecting themselves when approached by one, he said.
Skyer admits that the young children may not be able to physically fend off an adult, but he hopes to teach defense strategies that will keep them from harm, he said.
Avoiding eye contact is key, as is maintaining a 10-foot distance from an unknown person who is trying to approach. If they take a step forward, take a step back, he said.
The final step is “going bananas,” where a child begins screaming for help when they sense an attack or a stranger grabs hold of them.
Even if it’s a false alarm, “I want these kids to go bananas,” he said.
The dojo at 157 Columbia St. also taught children how to defend themselves against schoolyard bullying in their “Bully Buster” series.
“The goal is to create street-smart children,” said Skyer, who added that the “Stranger Danger” series is taught at all Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu locations.
Parents are also invited to attend the free one-day session to learn about how predators are luring children from safety, using toys and even stealing the child’s personal information through school correspondence that arrives at their home, said Skyer.
The workshops will also role-play potential “stranger danger” situations that children could face every day, he said.
“They think they’re safe in Cobble Hill," he said.
The free “Stranger Danger Education” workshop will be held on Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. at 157 Columbia St. To RSVP to the workshop, call 347-799-1960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.