INITIAL $50,000 GOAL FOR 1 YEAR PILOT PROGRAM
MARTiAL YOU, wants the ability to offer scholarships to individuals and families who are financially challenged and wish to attend martial arts classes. Many low-income families cannot afford to consider something extra, such as martial arts classes, due to the cost so we want to help lower that barrier. The Independent Scholarship Program is the mechanism to do just that. The key is in the name "Independent" which refers to not being just for one program or school.
Current funding needs include the ability to provide an initial 100+ applicants with a six month scholarship, worth approximately $180, which they can renew in order to help offset membership fees for a total of 1 year. The remaining funds would be utilized to administer and run the scholarship program itself.
1. $30,000-$35,000 Scholarship Funding Pool
2. $15,000 - $20,000 Administration Costs
Let's start by reiterating this:
It’s no secret that kids and adults benefit from physical activities of all kinds, and it’s a no brainer that learning new skills and challenging our minds helps to keep us mentally healthy. Now combine the benefits of physical and mental exercise with structure, character building and leadership skills. Then sprinkle on some discipline, the need to focus, and requirements for self-control.
Wait, we’re not done yet... Surround that with an environment of respectful and courteous behavior, community awareness, and responsibility. Finally infuse the underlying tone that hard work is acknowledged and rewarded. That’s martial arts!
Individuals who get involved in martial arts can profit from many different benefits which tend to carry over into a lifestyle. Let me quote some non numerical findings from Chuck Norris's very own KickStart Kids Program which teaches character through karate in middle schools. According to their statistics page, they have hired an outside consultant since 1992 to evaluate the program. What they found was:
Better Grades / Higher GPA
Students in the program have significantly higher GPA's than their peers.
Higher Attendance / More Focused
Students in the program are more diligent in their attendance, more punctual in their timing, and more committed to their tasks.
Self Control / More Disciplined
Students in the program exhibit greater self discipline and resiliency to drugs, gangs, and other harmful influences.
Greater Ambition / More Confident
Students in the program have a much more positive view of themselves and have a deeper confidence in their ability to achieve their goals.
The information gathered through that program helps confirm that physical health, mental well-being, character development and community involvement are just some of the positives that can be experienced. A healthier community is a better community!
For a more detailed look at the benefits of martial arts see:
An older study by a New York City-based research firm, Simmons Market Research, in 2002, showed the likelihood that a child will partake in martial arts increases proportionately with the income of his or her parents. In that research they found that 15% of kids whose parents earn $75,000 or more a year participate in martial arts, compared with 13% of those whose parents make between $50,000 and $75,000. Only 10% of kids whose parents earn $50,000 or less participate. Although this research was done a while ago, it verifies a bit of common sense when it comes to finances and participation in activities considered "extra," such as martial arts.
Less income equates to less participation.
In fact, statista.com information says that participation in martial arts has been dropping since 2007, going from approximately 6.87 million to 3.23 million in 2013. The US census data also shows that from 2007 to 2012 the average median income for households dropped from $55,644 to $51,017.
Reviewing more statistics we find that over half of American households had an annual income of less than 50,000 U.S. dollars in 2012, while over a quarter of all households were bringing in less than 25,000 U.S. dollars a year. Of those Americans living in poverty, almost a quarter were children.
According to the American Community Survey (2009-2013) 15.4% of American's income falls below the poverty level. With a current US population estimate of over 316 million people, thats roughly 48 million folks who are most likely not able to consider martial arts programs as an option for themselves or their kids. It may not be disaster relief we're speaking of, but opening up opportunities for low-income families and individuals to benefit from physical activities, such as those provided by martial arts, can help improve the entire community as a whole.
ABOVE AND BEYOND A SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
The Independant Scholarship Program sets out to accompish three things.
1. Help low-income families participate in quality martial arts programs by assisting them with the cost.
2. To grow a "collaborative community" from those schools and students who participate in the program.
3. Address community needs through projects designed to include volunteers from the "collaborative community" we have built.
Going by martial arts school listings, we find roughly 30,692 dojos/schools in the USA with 121 of them residing in Maine. Those listings obviously do not include the many integrated programs running through colleges, YMCA's, churches, public and private schools or those within other non-profit organizations all over the US. Overall, martial arts schools and programs combined are a huge untapped resource for community collaboration!
The structure of the scholarship would be a two-fold benefit which would take advantage of the larger pool of instructors and students who could provide volunteer hours towards charitable efforts and activities such as women’s self-defense clinics, martial arts camps for kids, leadership workshops and soft style martial arts for the elderly or disabled.
This double benefit allows us to help kids, teens and adults particpate in the study of martial arts which can potentially help build character, a healthier mind and body, higher confidence levels and improved social skills while at the same time providing a mechanism to directly work with other charities and organizations to fulfill community projects that benefit everyone.
Individuals who qualify under the low-Income requirements can apply to MARTiAL YOU for aid by providing proof of income. Depending on circumstances they may qualify to receive help paying a percentage of membership fees to attend a participating school. The supplement would be paid directly to the school to offset the student’s cost of the program they enroll in.
Partnering Schools or programs run from other entities or non-profits would be encouraged/required to provide volunteer hours towards “MARTiAL YOU Community Projects” in order to participate in the scholarship program.
Lets say we have a school called Kim’s Martial Arts School, and that school has a family nearby who is considered to have low-income. This family would like their daughter, Julie, to attend classes in martial arts in order to give her a healthy activity to participate in. Unfortunately, Julie's parents can’t afford the entire monthly fee of $85 that Kim's Martial Arts School currently charges. Julie’s family would contact MARTiAL YOU and apply for a Scholarship to see if they qualify to get a little help paying that $85 fee.
We would then verify their income and whether or not Kim’s Martial Arts School is a partner in the program. If the school is not a current partner we would immediately connect with them and try creating a partnership. If Kim’s Martial Arts School decides to become an Independent Scholarship partner then MARTiAL YOU would setup a supplemental payment to Kim’s Martial Arts School on behalf of Julie’s family in order to offset the cost of that monthly fee. So, instead of $85 per month Julie can attend with her family only paying $55 per month or less. Hurray!
Now that Kim’s Martial Arts School is a partner, they get connected with MARTiAL YOU Community Projects in which they can become involved. If we create a self-defense clinic for girls and women at the Young Women's Charity non-profit organization then we would call upon our partners, including Kim’s Martial Arts School, to fill volunteer positions in order to make the project a success.
This cycle continues allowing us to help low-income families gain access to the benefits of martial arts activities, and at the same time allows us to collaborate with our partnering schools to make a positive impact in the community. It’s a win, win, win situation.
Amber would like to enroll her daughter, Julie, in classes at Kim’s Martial Art School, but can’t afford the full monthly cost of $85. Amber contacts MARTiAL YOU for financial support.
MARTiAL YOU checks Amber’s financial status and determines if she qualifies for a scholarship. If so, MARTiAL YOU contacts Kim’s Martial Arts School to create a partnership that will help Julie get into classes.
If Kim's Martial Arts School is interested in the program they will become a scholarship partner and collaborate with MARTiAL YOU.
MARTiAL YOU contacts Amber to let her know that Kim’s Martial Arts School is now a program partner and according to her income, she qualifies for a six month scholarship.
A very happy Julie gets enrolled at Kim’s Martial Arts School, begins classes, meets new friends, and soon gains the confidence to demonstrate her newly learned skills in front of a large group.
MARTiAL YOU sets up a monthly payment of $30 for six months, directly to Kim’s Martial Arts School, on behalf of Julie’s family to offset the cost of classes. The actual amount is based on qualifications.
Kim’s Martial Arts School collaborates with MARTiAL YOU to provide volunteers for various community projects and programs.
MARTiAL YOU organizes a women’s self-defense clinic for the girls at Young Women’s Charity and invites partnering schools, including Kim’s Martial Arts, to help provide volunteer support for the clinic.
The circle of collaboration continues to go on and on throughout the community!
The example above shows a scenario in which MARTiAL YOU's Scholarship program can potentially tie together martial arts programs or schools with local area organizations and non-profits.
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