Nearly 100 young karate students will be throwing a collective 10,000 kicks in support of local disadvantaged children through a Kicks for Kids Kick-a-thon at 1 p.m. Saturday at the World Champion Karate Academy, 3402 Irvin Cobb Drive.
The academy also will host a community cookout following the kick-a-thon until 3 p.m. Families can enjoy free food, games and treats from an ice cream truck.
The fundraiser will benefit two local organizations serving disadvantaged children in the McCracken County area, Starfish Orphan Ministry and New Pathways for Children. With a fundraising goal of $10,000, the academy is searching for donating sponsors to pledge their support before the event.
"This is a near and dear issue to me, since I work with kids all the time," Sensei Joshua Smith said. "It's so important to help kids before they end up somewhere in life they may not need to be."
Interested individuals, families, businesses and organizations can participate as donating sponsors at any amount by contacting Smith at 270-556-5553.
Local children also can participate in the kick-a-thon whether or not they're an academy student. Martial arts instructors will be on hand to demonstrate correct technique to perform a kick.
There is no fee to participate, but children are encouraged to collect pledges from family members and friends to donate to the cause. Pledges should be collected prior to the event and turned in the day of.
No donation amount is too little or too much, Smith said, since everything is going toward a great cause.
For Smith, the kick-a-thon is an extension of the academy's mission to promote character and strong values in his students.
"My main goal is to instill in my students the benefit of being able to help others," he said. "Being a martial artist isn't necessarily about kicks or punches or winning karate tournaments. If I can instill the value of giving and taking care of their families and their communities, then that will far exceed what we do here." While not all of his students may have the desire or physical build to become martial arts tournament champions, they each have the ability to become thriving community members who create, give and lead.
"I've always been about character development in here with all of my students," Smith said. "In my opinion, it's highly important for them to develop the spirit of giving. I don't want them to be on the receiving end for the rest of their lives. I don't want them to be the ones with their hands out, I want them to be productive and give back."