Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $89,435)
The KICKSTART karate program operates to change and save the lives of children daily. Through its proven in-school daily educational curriculum, KICKSTART uses the philosophies of the Martial Arts to teach character development and life-skills traits [honesty, courage, respect, discipline and responsibility] to middle school students as part of the normal school day. A highly trained, qualified black belt instructor becomes a strong role model and authority figure for these children. The instructor is not only their teacher and coach, but will become a mentor with whom the student may stay closely aligned with for the remainder of their life. The goals of the program are to help children: 1) Make good choices; 2) Stay in school; 3) Strengthen their mind, body and spirit; 4) Develop strong self-esteem; 5) Encourage the family to be actively involved in their child's life; and 6) Create a sense of belonging. KICKSTART measures and tabulates the results each year through an outside evaluator. Data will be maintained by the school districts and will measure student groups who have participated for three years as compared to non-participating student groups with respect to such criteria as: unexcused absences, failing grades, discipline/conduct issues, and success of transitioning to high school from the middle school. The evaluator will interview and survey data of students and faculty. Students are surveyed as to: self confidence, respect given and received, peer-pressure, feelings of isolation or loneliness, and their overall school experience; faculty are surveyed as to: respect they receive, preparedness of the student for their class, discipline issues, leadership qualities they see in the student.