Profits from ActionFest 2012 will go to Kickstart Kids, the renowned children’s charity started by Chuck and Gena Norris in 1990 which uses martial arts training in inner city public middle schools to demonstrate positive living for at-risk middle school youth.
ActionFest Supports Chuck Norris’ Charity
On August 16, 1992, the KICKSTART KIDS Foundation was formed by the legendary Mr. Chuck Norris, and his wife Gena. Reflecting on their own good fortune, and the rewards that they had seen martial arts bring to their own lives and the lives of others, they searched for a way to help children in the local area. They wanted to provide a martial arts program that instilled in kids all the best personal qualities that martial arts would require of them. They gained the support of Former President George Bush their program was initially introduced into four schools in the Houston area.
Since those early days the program has expanded hugely, largely due to the excellent results it has achieved, and its popularity with the groups of children it is trying to help. Kids love KICKSTART KIDS, it seems and there is no shortage of members. It is now available in over 40 middle schools in Texas, helping more than 6,500 kids get off the couch and into the gym to make a positive change to their lives. Since it began, it has graduated over 70,000 students. Over 19 years, this is an impressive achievement from such small beginnings.
Aims of KICKSTART KIDS
Chuck Norris was very clear about what he wanted to achieve with Kickstart, using martial arts as a vehicle to deliver results. He wanted to develop strong moral character traits in children, reinforcing the message of self-discipline and respect for others with positive encouragement and reinforcement. He wanted to develop a sense of belonging and the skills of working as part of a team. He wished to encourage empathy and compassion towards others in his students, and create reflective individuals whose families could also become involved in working through the program. He wanted to increase involvement in school and community activities, and transfer life skills to the students who enrolled.
So, has it worked? The figures don’t lie, and Kickstart has an excellent track record for keeping kids on the straight and narrow. They have employed a professional organization to assess their results and their research shows some impressive statistics. Students enrolled in the KickStart program have a much more positive view of themselves than non-enrolled students and have a deeper confidence in their ability to achieve their goals. KICKSTART KIDS students also have significantly higher GPA’s than their peers. They are more punctual, more committed to tasks and have higher attendance rates than non-enrolled students. Students of the program also exhibit greater self discipline and an increased ability to resist to drugs, gangs, and other harmful influences.
The statistics really are proof that an organized program of adult mentoring and encouragement achieve results. With the extra encouragement of family involvement – much higher for KickStart than for other school activities – there is a powerful sense of nurture and care created, which children so desperately need in order to flourish and find confidence in their own abilities. In the word of Chuck Norris himself, “KICKSTART KIDS students develop the mental and physical strength to deal with the challenges they will face in the future. Gena and I have witnessed first hand many of our youngsters grow into adulthood, face challenges head-on and overcome any obstacles that got in their way toward achievement”
One of the main objectives of the groups is to teach conflict resolution skills, with the aim of reducing bullying and youth violence. The belief is that by encouraging independence and confidence kids will be able to stand up to negative influences they may come across, both in during their childhoods and on into adulthood. They are skills that will stand students in good stead for the rest of their lives. There is also an emphasis on good health, and good mental health, which is powerfully effective when combined with achievable goals and mentor support. The children wish to emulate their instructors who are carefully chosen for their charisma, good character and dedication to the aims of the organization.
Proud Association – ActionFest Supports KICKSTART KIDS
ActionFest is enormously proud to be associated with KICKSTART KIDS, who are to be the beneficiaries of a charity donation from the 2012 Festival.
Make Chuck Happy – to make a direct donation to the charity follow the links to the KICKSTART KIDS website.
Lynda Northberg is a freelance writer from England who specializes in writing about sports and martial arts. Chuck’s action film spectaculars have always been favorites of hers.