A local business is asking for the communityâ€™s help in its quest to help underprivileged children by teaching them discipline and self-respect through martial arts.
Students at the Samurai Arts Institute in Lincolnton will be taking part in a nationwide attempt on May 14 to break the current world record for boards broken. The record now stands at 5,842,033. Children across the country will participate simultaneously for one hour.
The goal of the record-breaking attempt is to raise money to allow less fortunate children the opportunity to become involved in physical and cultural arts programs through the national Project Action Foundation.
The foundation works with martial arts, dance and gymnastics studios across the country.
The Samurai Arts Institute currently has 50 students on a wait-list for the program this year, said John Santiago, who co-owns the institute with Pete Nappier.
All the money raised locally goes to the program headquarters in Florida. If a child applies and is approved, the foundation will pay for that child to attend the institute. It costs about $600 to put a child through the program.
Its goal is to teach courtesy, integrity, respect, discipline and courage. Project Action also strives to build self-esteem, teach goal-setting skills, promote asset development, create positive peer groups and provide children with positive mentors.
Santiago said that if children are taught those basic moral values in the program, theyâ€™ll likely take them back home and out into the community.
â€œWe are a very community based institution so we want to try to give as much as we can back to the community,â€ he said.
John Hart, 11, has been at Samurai Arts Institute for two years. He said he enjoys the program because of the different activities he gets to take part in.
â€œItâ€™s pretty good,â€ he said. â€œ(You learn) how to protect yourself, use swords, techniques.â€
Kids meet at the institute twice a week. Each session includes an educational session, with the focus being on topics like dealing with bullies.
Santiago said the kids will take that knowledge with them when they leave the studio, leading to a new respect for the community and their hometown. That will want to make them give back to the community, he said.
â€œItâ€™s definitely the children of tomorrow that you need to educate today,â€ he said.
The Samurai Arts Institute is asking for help from individuals and businesses to reach its goal of $100,000.
To help, send a donation to 1001 N.C. 27 West, Lincolnton, N.C. 28092. Checks should be made payable to Project Action Foundation.
The board-breaking attempt will happen at noon May 14 at the institute.
For more information call 704-732-2010.by Alice Smith