• Kelly Gutensohn

JustServe Volunteer Superheroes: Emmons’ TaeKwonDo Academy/A Hero for Kids


Saturday, July 31, at 2 pm I entered Emmons’ TaeKwonDo Academy hoping to catch a glimpse of a service project in full action. When I arrived everyone was sitting around happily chatting. Turns out it took them less than 45 minutes to stuff 600+ backpacks full of school supplies for the Back2School Celebration hosted by a Hero For Kids (August 7 in St. Cloud, August 8 in Orlando. Visit aheroforkids.org for more information.) Students, instructors, family and friends all showed up to assist in this massive project. The Back2School Celebration is a huge community event that helps so many but these things could not happen without the people behind the scenes, the real life superheroes: the Volunteers!


Connor Hair, age 14, 3 year student and 1st Degree Decided Black Belt, stated that “We helped stuff backpacks for a school drive to help give kids backpacks if they don’t have one. This touched my heart because it was a nice thing to do to help people.”


Volunteerism and giving back to the community is an integral part of training as a martial artist. John Emmons, owner of the academy, shares that “Martial artists from the beginning of time have always been the heroes in the community. They have always looked out for the weak and the old. They took care of their village or community and we are just continuing that tradition. It’s really volunteerism.”


The Academy got involved with A Hero For Kids by voting them as their charity. They liked that everything they do goes right back into Osceola County, the county that has supported them for over 30 years. “In our society right now we try to pigeon hole people. In TaeKwonDo, whether they have ADHD or Autism, everyone trains together. We learn to get along and to have empathy and that bleeds over in the community. We try to be inclusive so when you come here you are one of us. When you moved to Osceola County you are one of us and we are just trying to help everyone in Osceola County.”


Ultimately, volunteerism is how we make the world a better place. It turns our hearts outward, emboldens us, teaches us empathy, increases our skillsets and helps those around us all while helping our own hearts. Trecia Wells, a mom of 5 and Level 4 instructor with a 3rd Degree Black belt illustrates this perfectly. “I was really impressed with everyone coming together as a team. It was really neat to see us all come together and have that unison, that machine-like assembly line that went on. The better part was that everybody found something to do and had a part to play.”


Making a difference is a part of what makes a volunteer a super hero in our communities. The impact that the Academy made will be carried on the backs of countless children as they confidently step into the classroom ready to learn. Those students will go on to change the world.


Trecia Wells said it best “when I saw the backpacks being filled I think about my own family going to school and I know how excited they are when we have our backpacks at home and our school supplies are ready. Some kids may not have that in their home. That they can go and get their backpack (at the Back2School Celebration) and take that home and be excited about the school year is a super cool thing to me.”


If you are interested in volunteerism or partnering with an organization a great resource is JustServe.org, it’s free! It helps build our community like the Emmons’ TaeKwonDo Academy and A Hero for Kids. You can be a superhero volunteer as well!


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