Four years ago, my husband and son decided to take Taekwondo together. We visited all of the Studios in the area, and found Master Seo at Kian Taekwondo in Salem, NH http://www.kiantkd.com/. Nestled between a bakery and real estate broker, this Taekwondo studio is a hidden gem. A gifted children charmer, Master Seo turned my son from a scared deer in the headlights into a confident and respectful young man.
In addition to the changes in my son, I witnessed a handicapped man get his yellow, orange, green, blue and purple belts to standing ovations every time. Along with this miracle, I watched an autistic boy achieve his black belt. Because of Master Seo’s belief that he can help everyone through Taekwondo, he has developed a unique program that allows every student to achieve the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of Taekwondo.
Observing the life altering leadership of Master Seo, I was inspired to start the Kian Taekwondo Scholarship Fund to make his teaching available to children in need. Through the Scholarship Fund, we watched a shy bullied boy come alive and learn self-respect and dignity. When I thought that I couldn’t be astonished any further, I saw all of the children in the studio work long hours to help raise money for scholarships to support the children in their community.
Invested in the success of each and every student, Master Seo motivates them to be all that they can be. Because he shines as a Master, he teaches them all to shine in their practice of Taekwondo. Building the next generation of Taekwondo one student at a time, Master Seo has indelibly changed the face of our community for the better.
I remember being at a great party New Year’s Eve 1999 and singing the lyrics to Prince’s 1999 at the top of my lungs with everyone else. I don’t like to admit it, but it has been a long time since I partied like 1999. Today my parties include juice boxes and bouncy houses. They are still crazy, but it is usually a sugar induced insanity. Lots of cake, candy, screaming, yelling and running in circles. Some of our themes have included Thomas the Train, Star Wars, Super Heroes, Taekwondo, Beyblade World Championship, Polar Express, Laser Tag and Sharks. What they all have in common is how happy we are to celebrate with our son and his friends. We love to bring joy to our son in whatever way makes him happy on a given year. How do you celebrate your children’s’ birthdays? Attach pictures, so that we can share your memories with you.
Waiting at the Dojang during my son’s Taekwondo class, I overheard the Master say “I have been contacted by the local schools about children in need in our community. They want to know if we have any scholarships to help them.” It was at this moment that I found how I could make a difference.
With limited money, we started a scholarship fund for children in need to participate in martial arts. Our first little boy’s father was in prison and it was effecting his home life. Sponsoring him, we had the joy of watching his transformation.
In order to continue sponsoring more students, we reached out to members of the martial arts community and began fund raising with them. And, we raised the money for another scholarship. This new boy was the son of a single mom working very hard to keep a roof over his head. As a latchkey child, he was alone most afternoons and being bullied by boys in his neighborhood. Instead of hiding from the neighborhood bullies in the afternoon, he now attends classes at the Dojang. All I needed to see was the confident smile on his face and light in his eyes to know that this scholarship fund was making a difference.
Recently, I was approached by a Taekwondo school from another state that wants me to help them set up a scholarship fund. In addition to assisting other communities start scholarship funds, we are running more fund raising events in July, September and October. With the support of our community, we will fund the scholarships for three more children. By answering the call, I found out that we all have the potential to make a difference. All I needed to do to make a difference was to stand up and say yes, and because I did others in our community are standing up with me.
Who are you standing up for in your community? Share your stories in this blog and inspire and encourage others to stand with you. Stand tall. Be proud. Sing out loud! No action is too small. Don’t be afraid. Change the world!