Students at True Balance Karate in Downers Grove performed 122,306 kicks during three days of classes for the “Fast Kicks for Flint” fundraiser.
The school joined other area members of the World Tang Soo Do Association to raise money to purchase water filters to be used in Flint, Mich., where the public water supply has been contaminated.
True Balance owner Paul Helsdon said they organized the fundraiser through a World Tang Soo Do Association school in Flint called Double Dragon Tang Soo Do.
He said the association has done kickathons in the past, which excites the students.
“They get pumped,” he said. “They didn’t realize, ‘Wow, I got 500 kicks in a class.’”
Students as young as three and as old as 77 performed as many kicks as they could during Feb. 13, 15 and 16 classes.
Now, the students are soliciting donations, based either on the number of kicks they did or a flat donation.
The funds collected will be presented to the owners of the Flint school during the WTSDA’s Regional Championship April 16 in Wheaton.
True Balance will use the funds it raises to purchase filters from Zero Water, whose CEO, Doug Kellam of Oak Brook, has a child attending the school.
Zero Water has also pledged to match all the donations made by the World Tang Soo Do Association.
Helsdon said participating in kickathons makes students become more aware of issues such as the Flint water crisis and how the money they raise is helping the situation.
The competitive nature of seeing how many kicks they can do helps drive the fundraiser, he said.
“It feels like an accomplishment to the students,” he said. “It causes them to raise the money.”
Donations will be accepted up until April 16.