Girls in Gis donation drive and year-end event in Texas

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By Shama Ko

Girls in Gis, an organization fostering the practice of Jiu-Jitsu by women, is getting in the spirit of giving this holiday season by holding its first donation drive to help those in need.

Backed by the Texas Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community and captained by the leader of Gracie Barra Texas women’s team Fabiana Borges, the Girls in Gis Wish List Donation Drive will directly benefit the SafePlace shelter in Austin, Texas.

SafePlace Austin –– a resource for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors­­ –– promotes a 24-hour hotline, hospital accompaniment, shelter and counseling services for female victims, as well as their children. It also avails programs for educating, awareness building and teaching clients about assessing resources.

The aim of the Girls in Gis Wish List Donation Drive is to provide necessary items and spread word about the services and resources available at SafePlace.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community in Texas has been overwhelmingly supportive of the endeavor so far, with over twenty-two academies, including all three Gracie Barra Austin locations, offering their facilities as collection sites for students and the public to make donations..

Girls in Gis Donation Drive runs through January 20, and a free event will be promoted at Gracie Barra North Austin on January 22 by the black belt Borges.

“I hope to share a little bit of my knowledge of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and show them how it can be helpful,” Borges said. “I want to help them build self-confidence and learn how to stand up for themselves through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.”

Women and girls of all ages and all skill levels affiliated with any academy are invited to take part in the inaugural Girls in Gis self-defense event for free. Borges will also volunteer her services to provide the clients of SafePlace with rape-prevention and self-defense classes on a regular basis starting in January 2012.

“I also want to show the clients that they don’t need to be athletic to train, as the Gracie Barra slogan says: ‘Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone.’ Everyone can train and learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu,” Borges said. “I love to teach people that are hungry to learn, and it makes me happy to know that I am helping people with my knowledge.”

As a part of the drive, Girls in Gis will be holding a competition between their members to see who can bring in the most wish list items for SafePlace. Girls in Gis swag baskets will be awarded to all the Girls in Gis members from the winning academy. Prizes will be presented at the Girls in Gis Austin event.

A full list of wish list items and drop-off locations can be found at Additional donations and information on SafePlace services can be found at

Sponsors for the Girls in Gis Wish List Donation Drive contest include BJJ Legends, She-Jitsu, Neocell Sports, Super Body Care, Mean Streak, ACT Energy drink. Fenom Kimonos, Grand Prix Grappling, Paleo Pam and Scentsy Independent Consultant Lana Hunter.

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