Punches and Kicks for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

For Amway IBOs Dennis and Jody Mills, the week of Valentine’s Day calls for breaking boards, punching, and kicking – but it’s all done in the name of friendly competition and a charitable cause. Since the couple bought WestWind Martial Arts in Prosser, Washington, in 2005, they have hosted an annual weeklong fundraiser to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Throughout each fundraising event, break-a-thons, kick-a-thons, and spar-a-thons are held during regularly scheduled class time. Chung do kids of ages 5 and 6 as well as tae kwon do students from age 7 and up are welcome to join the competitions.

“During the kick-a-thons, we have people hold up a square pad to students at waist high, then the students do either front kicks or back kicks, counting for a minute, resting for a minute, and repeating that for an hour. But if they need a five-minute break, that’s OK,” explains Jody. “We once had a 13-year-old boy do 2,595 kicks in an hour!”

Dennis and Jody bring two different sets of skills to the table to ensure each fundraiser is enjoyable and runs smoothly. Jody is the planner and Dennis leads the competitions. Dennis and Jody’s combined efforts, along with the help of their students, result in raising about $3,000 at each weeklong event. “The competitions are a fun way to break up class because they don’t need to work on their form,” adds Jody.

In speaking about some of the younger students, Jody says, “I think it’s good for them because it makes them more wellrounded black belts. It’s not all about them. I like to think that they’ll give back to the community when they become adults.”

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