What a great thing- such an amazing program. Here are my thoughts:
My family was fortunate to meet the Senseis many years ago. Our kids were typical grade-schoolers; energetic, a little distractible, and ready for a bit of experience with a team working toward individual and group goals. The Sensei’s welcomed all of us, and knew the kids’ names immediately. They took a personal interest in each student, and provided individual support and instruction in an easy-to-learn manner. The kids were hooked! They wanted to practice at home daily, and looked forward to the next class. They would run through their forms together and help each other improve. I could see the confidence and discipline beginning to take hold, and it was wonderful.
Eventually our family circumstances changed, and we became a single-parent family. Many aspects of daily life changed for the kids. But karate remained a constant; they knew each week they would have strong, caring adults and excellent classmates to learn with and grow with. It was a place where they were given the best from their Sensei’s and they wanted to give their best in return. But finances were an obstacle. I politely tried to bow out, but the Sensei’s knew my family and sensed that my kids might be good candidates for the scholarship program. It has been a true blessing for each one of us.
While we don’t know who the generous people are behind the FIDoY, we are grateful each week that they have made it possible for us to have the consistency of continued lessons, and the many benefits of learning martial arts in such a wonderful setting. One of my kids explains, “It made me stronger, it gave me better balance, it made me faster. It made me respect myself and others more. It made me more confident that I could handle myself and other people if I need to. I think it has been pure benefit.”
When my kids started at a new school, they would see other students from their Dojo who would greet them in the halls, and they felt a sense of connectedness and support. When they are in the community and see a class mate they immediately greet each other, and they know they have a “karate family” all around them.
This amazing charity has helped my kids stay in a discipline where they could develop a work ethic, a sense of personal responsibility, and learn skills for life that they would not have without this opportunity.
It has brought tremendous comfort to me to see my kids have a week-after-week connection with the Senseis, who simply go above and beyond for their students. My kids have been able to experience much-needed positive role models, they have a secure place to push themselves toward achievement, and I see it benefit their daily lives. It’s so wonderful to see such positive skills being developed in my kids, I know it will benefit them for the rest of their lives, and we can’t say enough about this amazing charity.
We can only say “Thank you!” from deep in our hearts.