Karate For Kids
To provide at-risk youth with the experiences they need to further their character development so they can be successful in life.
Additional categories (optional)
Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?
Eligibility: Date of Birth
June 27, 2002
Help us stay in touch!
Massachusetts: Fitchburg (01420)
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
Date You Started Your Project Started
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
I am hoping that the fundamentals of karate will help children navigate issues surrounding them today. Karate is not only for self-defense,it also teaches self-control, perseverance, and goal-setting. These lessons help children build self-esteem and confidence, something they may lack due to social or emotional issues. Our hope is to raise money that will provide a karate experience to at-risk youth between the ages of 6-12
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
I work with my school district to help find students who are at risk and may benefit from a karate experience. The guidance and adjustment counselors are able to give names of students and we reach out to them. They are offered a two-week free trial at Family Martial Arts Center. We discuss the program and how it might benefit the child and discuss how much they may be able to afford. We feel that if a family can pay a small portion then there will be more commitment and motivation moving forward. Once we narrow down who is interested, an application is given. Finally, the Karate For Kids foundation reads through them and awards a 6-month scholarship to offset the price. The karate program builds characteristic lessons into the program which includes; perseverance, self-control, indomitable spirit, and. Our hope is that we can expand to other activities that encourage the same lessons as, soccer, softball, basketball all offered through our city recreation.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
The first time I realized I wanted to start Karate For Kids is when I met a young boy named Aiden. Aiden is a 6-year-old that is full of energy and on the Autism spectrum. I trained with him for about a year and sadly he had to stop due to finances. It was then that I saw myself in Aiden and realized how fortunate I was to get this experience. I wanted to figure out a way to not have money stand in the way of karate. Shortly after, I attended a United Way Youth Venture Fall Kick-Off event and was inspired. I spoke to my mentor Mr. Martin Silva, about creating my own project. He guided me to create what is now known as Karate for Kids. To create my own program I had to create a plan and present it to local leaders who made the decision to award us $750 seed money. We had a long road ahead of us to turn that money into enough that would offset the price each month for karate.
4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”
5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
When someone wants to join our organization we make sure that they understand the commitment involved as well as the characteristics that we promote. It is important that we all exhibit these and become role models for the kids we scholarship. We then find out what talents and/or strengths they have that can benefit the Karate for Kids foundation. It’s important to delegate out jobs and meet on a monthly basis to make sure we are on the same page. Our vision is for this foundation to grow beyond High school and find kids who share the same commitment. We currently have one member that graduated last year and still helps out from College.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Our program gives kids the opportunity to experience karate. There is a misconception that karate is only for self-defense. It also includes lessons around Modesty, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and Indomitable Spirit. This allows the child to see that something like self-control should not only happen on the mat, but also at home with parents and with teachers. Each of these traits are essential to good citizenship and being mindful. We also are hoping that the program will impact one of the scholarship recipients to one day be a member of our foundation to pay it forward.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
In our almost 3 years of being launched, we have raised over $6,000, awarded two children scholarships for karate. Our very first scholarship recipient has shown commitment within her own journey, and has also begun to teach younger kids the art of karate and is thinking of a fundraiser to support our local homeless community. We have begun to branch out in other ways to give back to our community. We provided one senior at Fitchburg High School a $150 scholarship for representing the characteristics of karate, purchased a hundred non-perishable cans for Thanksgiving baskets and put together and delivered a holiday food/gift baskets to seven needy Fitchburg families during the holiday season.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
Karate for Kids is always looking to find more ways to expand and improve. In the next year, we plan to not only provide kids with karate experiences but also activities such as soccer, basketball, baseball. These also help build characteristics the kids can use to navigate through the many challenges and obstacles they may face today. We also plan to have additional community partnerships. As of right now, we partner Family Martial Arts Center. In the coming months, we plan to partner with Fitchburg Youth Soccer as well as Fitchburg Basketball and Baseball programs.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations less than $100
Donations between $100-$1k
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?
White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?
No, I do not identify with an underrepresented community
How did you hear about this challenge?
Recommended by others
Participated in previous Ashoka challenges
Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?
Jake Vanhillo and Michelle Brennan of the United Way Youth Venture!