Racquel and Victoria Tornambe of Kenmore are confident, strong and kind human beings. But as sweet as they are, you probably wouldn’t want to mess with them.
A few years ago, the two sisters were being bullied at school and one day while walking home, Racquel was jumped by a gang of girls as her sister was forced to watch in horror.
“It was a very traumatic experience for me,” said Racquel. “These girls they pushed me on the ground, they were punching me in my face, they were choking me.”
Racquel was sent to the hospital for her injuries. When she recovered, she and her sister decided they needed an outlet to get through this, so their parents enrolled them at SPAR Self Defense, located at Eggert Road in Tonawanda. The sisters have been taking classes for 2 1/2 years and can now take down a 200-pound man if needed.
“It felt horrible seeing my sister being attacked and knowing that I couldn’t do anything about it…but now when I come to SPAR if something ever happened like that again, I know that I would be able to do something about it.”
Racquel now teaches SPAR Self Defense classes to other kids to help prevent bullying. She says it’s their mission to make sure this never happens to anyone again.
“It’s just a great thing to see (the kids) growing and changing and improving in their self and it just makes me feel very great that I can help because I would hate to see anything that happened to me, happen to anyone else in the world,” she said.
The Tornambe sisters attended a press conference this morning to announce the launch of the WNY Anti Bully Project, an initiative spearheaded by SPAR owner Bill Long to bring the community together in a united and functional way to promote awareness and education in the advancement of anti-bullying endeavors throughout Erie and Niagara counties. The goal is to put an end to bullying before it begins and encourages the participation of state and local leaders, educators, and youth groups.
”We’ve experienced some awfully, awfully bad things with people committing suicide, which is totally unacceptable. We need to do something about it,” said Long. “We are going to put this center stage and bring it to the front burner everywhere within our community.”
“I actually know people myself who have taken their own lives over this bullying matter, so it means so much to me having been bullied myself and just to know that he’s doing this to help other children and young adults to avoid being bullied, it means the world to me,” said Racquel.
The community is invited to attend SPAR’s official launch of the WNY Anti Bully Project tomorrow Oct. 6 starting at 10 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. The day will include police officer talks with kids, self defense demonstrations, a free woman’s self defense class, a kid’s dance party and a basket raffle just to name a few. For more information, visit www.sparselfdefense.com, www.facebook.com/sparselfdefense or call 716-835-7727.