Our dojo is called Thousand Waves, and it's amazing. I'm biased, of course, but I'm convinced it's one of the most welcoming communities ever. The environment is nurturing (NOT to be confused with coddling, cause they don't...at all), which provides people with a safe place to venture out of their comfort zones. This is the perfect recipe for building confidence and empowerment.
Before Oldest started training, he was painfully shy. At seven years old, he couldn't even make eye contact with strangers, let alone speak to them. In fact, on his first day at the dojo, his teacher actually asked if he was capable of speech(!).
This shyness hindered him in so many ways. He had difficulty making friends, joining new classes and groups in activities, and he was often on the outside looking in. All because he was too scared to take that first step toward connecting with other kids.
Part of the curriculum at Thousand Waves is learning how to speak up, that your voice counts and you have every right to use it. It's two of their Five Fingers of Self-Defense: Think, Yell, Run, Fight, Tell. Through consistent training and encouragement from his teachers, Oldest has acquired the confidence to use his voice, both to make new friends and to set limits with existing ones. He's almost a different kid than he was a year ago, so much happier and easy-going, and he's enjoying life so much more. A huge, new door has been opened for him.
When Youngest was in junior kindergarten, one of his classmates tried to shut him in his locker. Yes, junior kindergarten!! Thousand Waves gave him a whole set of tools to deal with this bully, and there hasn't been an incident since.
This is why I train there. This is why I believe Thousand Waves is worthy of support. They have given me and my family far more than I could ever give in return, but I will do my best to try.
Mine is not the only family they have touched. Thousand Waves has several violence prevention programs, which they bring to to schools and neighborhood organizations. They have an Adapted Seido Karate program for kids with disabilities, which has no fees for those kids who train. They also have a scholarship fund, which ensures that anyone who wants to can train in karate, and have access to the many Thousand Waves programs.
For an organization to do as much as this one does, they need help. They are a not-for-profit, and all of their scholarship funds come from their annual Spirit Challenge fundraiser. This includes the Adapted Seido Karate program for disabled kids. I have pledged to do my part this year. In addition to donating, I have signed up for four fitness challenges. These events take place all week from Monday, June 11 through Sunday, June 17. I've also pledged to raise $200, which will go toward keeping their fabulous programs going.
If Thousand Waves sounds like an organization you'd like to see thriving, I would love your help in reaching my goal. You can make a donation here, of whatever amount you like. Every little bit counts--"One wave can set a thousand in motion."