At Traditional Martial Arts Academy, kids earn life skills stripes at every belt level. These stripes are for effort applied at home, school and towards community service. During our mat chats this month, we will be discussing one of these stripes each week. Last week, we discussed community service. Kids earn a blue stripe for their belts for altruistic effort they apply towards others (you can watch a video about this stripe here, and a video about life skills stripes in general here.)
As with all of the life skills stripes, the community service stripes are meant to reinforce your family’s values, rather than values imposed by a martial arts instructor. You and your child should choose a volunteer experience that is meaningful for your family. Stripes are awarded for work done over an hour or more, and can be done as a solo project or as a contribution to an established charity. Here are some examples of things kids have done in the past:
· Cleaning up trash in a neighborhood or park
· Working at a “soup kitchen” for poor or homeless people/families
· Cleaning kennels and playing with cats/dogs at animal shelters
· Assembling and distributing care packages for homeless people
· Donating toys, books and clothing to families in need
· Writing letters and making cards for hospitalized children and children incarcerated at the southern US border
· Organizing donations (food, clothing, toys, etc) at non-profits serving families in need
These are just a few examples. There have been thousands of community service stripes earned over the history of TMAA, which translates into thousands of hours of altruism our students have put into our community!
Kids can organize together and share a larger project as well. Kids have joined together to clean neighborhoods and parks for example. One of my favorites happened several years ago in response to a tragedy–a nearby apartment caught fire and left several families homeless. A bunch of children rallied together to donate clothes, toys and even furniture to help those families with rebuilding.
All life skills stripes must be earned before your child takes their next belt test. When your child earns his or her stripe, you simply write a brief not to the instructors letting them know what your child did to earn the stripe. Life skills stripes can be awarded on any regular class day. If you have any questions, or need help with ideas for a community service project, please chat with your instructor or Mrs. Espy.