By MARTHA SMITH
Special to the Standard
NORTH KINGSTOWN – When you sign on for lessons at Narragansett Bay Budokai, you’re going to learn more than martial arts poses, kicking and self-defenses.
Owner Robert Brenner is also going to instill respect, pride and a sense that being part of a community is important.
For that reason, every student in his school – from the littlest six-year-old, to adults in their 30s – is required to participate in an outdoor benefit for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund on Feb. 12.
The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of Dave’s Marketplace on Gate Road, in the Quonset Gateway shopping plaza.
“We try and hold some kind of community outreach program every month and this one will be our largest to date,” Brenner explains. “We’ll be outside in our karate uniforms and jackets; all my special teams and clubs are involved. I made it mandatory.”
Some two dozen participants will work in shifts “so they don’t get too cold.”
Brenner says, “We’ll be giving out discounts, gift certificates, coupons to those making a donation. Donors will each receive a $20 credit which they can bring into the dojo and use against tuition or to purchase equipment they might be interested in.”
When he first mentioned the fundraising idea to his students and started putting out flyers, he notes, “They were all excited to support it. A lot of them are Red Sox fans and are familiar with the Jimmy Fund.” The team is the charity’s largest organizational sponsor.
“I have a group of great kids; they all just want to help.”
Brenner confesses he was starting to get discouraged because every supermarket he contacted about providing space was “booked solid.” The manager of Dave’s at Quonset happily gave permission.
Since Brenner started his community-awareness program, he says many local organizations and needy individuals – including a number of children suffering from severe illnesses – have been suggested as beneficiaries of future capital campaigns.
“We would to raise $500” for the Jimmy Fund. “We will also be collecting at the school.”
Donations can also be mailed to at Narragansett Bay Budokai, 679 Boston Neck Rd., North Kingstown, R.I. 02852.
Martha Smith is an award-winning journalist and author. Retired, she is an independent contractor for SRIN and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .