What is Special Kicks? Special Kicks is a program which offers individualized instruction for kids and adults with special needs. Our program stresses development of balance, coordination, discipline, focus, attention, physical fitness, social skill development, and will push your child. Specific exercises can be created to fit each student’s developmental needs. These can help those who may experience difficulties with walking, flexibility, overall range of motion or other concerns. What is the money used for? Over the past 2 years funding through the state has been cut by 40%. Organizations such as Easter Seals and Gateway behavioral health have stopped funding recreational activities. The funding raised here will be used to help support those that cannot be funded. One example of this is for kids that are in Foster Care. In the state of Georgia Kids that are in Foster care, cannot be funded by the state for things such as recreation. Over the past year we have used special kicks funding to help fund foster kids with Special Needs for Karate. In the past we have also used this money to help a family who needed a wheelchair accessible van for their child. This event changed the families lives and has made it easy for them to experience more life for their child and to travel whenever necessary rain or shine. Benefits of Special Kicks I have been working with special needs children and over the years have found students who participate in a karate program exhibit increased mobility, memorization and self-esteem. Karate can also function as a form of therapy. It provides among other things: 1. Physical Exercise – practicing karate allows students to process information; 2. Consistency – repeated movements and practice help organize and focus a student’s learning; 3. Social Skills – setting forth the boundaries of acceptable behavior and reinforcing achievable goals, i.e., the belt system. Most importantly, karate is “fun!” It gives students with special needs a boost of self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment that may not be received in “typical” therapy environments. The rewards of completing a technique, a kick, a strike or a punch, enables confidence and pride. Students are willing and excited to demonstrate something they have learned in class. Students that are able can transition into the mainstream class when agreed upon between myself and the parent.