3rd Annual TKD Youth Awards Banquet & Fundraiser


Imported From The Original Academy Blog 2011-2016
Re-Release 8 of 14 -- First Posted - November 25, 2013
"3rd Annual TKD Youth Awards Banquet & Fundraiser"


Friday, November 22nd, 2013 marked the evening of another great milestone for our academy.  We proudly hosted our 3nd Annual TKD Youth Awards Banquet and Fundraiser.  This was the first time we combined a fundraiser with the awards, and this was made possible by the efforts of our Youth Outreach Initiative.  The outreach team, with some help from Jason Feddy (local Laguna Beach radio personality) hosted a live auction that raised $3,870 for The Red Cross!  With over 100 in attendance, our largest event to date, it was another great achievement for our community.

For memory's sake I feel it's important to keep record of these events.  It will be great for all of our young students to have access to records of their martial arts journey and memories. 


Speech Transcript:

Hello everyone.  Each year I mention that it’s humbling to have you here in support.  It's truly heartfelt.  Our first year’s event had roughly 65 in attendance, and this year we have over 100!

Thank you all for setting the time aside to be here, and to support the excellent efforts and achievements of your young martial artists.

As I’ve shared in the past, I am driven to build an academy that has a hugely positive impact on our community; from where our community members may work together, to reach onwards and upwards.  Of course I am still committed to my three big-picture drivers: passing on the art form of Cho’s Tae Kwon Do, producing at least one world champion martial artist, and helping to mold strong, conscious, responsible and happy young men and women… champions of life.

Since opening, I have worked diligently on all fronts and can proudly say we have made progress in each of these areas.

Tonight, with so many good people in one place, I feel a great responsibility to make the best use of our time.  At last year’s awards I stated… and I quote, “Moving forward, I have a vision for this event to grow into a fundraiser.  I will ask our teens to step up and take some ownership of the project.  I would like to see our young ones focusing action towards peace, the elimination of corruption and suffering, education, equality and harmony.  Cultivating an awareness of an individual’s ability to influence our world will prove powerful.”  Well, it’s a year later and that vision has become a reality with the inception of our Youth Outreach Initiative!

Robert Kennedy said, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”

I first used this quote at last year’s event, and have used it several times since.  I like it because it calls each of us to action.  It also makes our individual responsibility approachable, even if all we have to give, is a small gesture… because in total, if we all were to make small gestures… to take small actions to bend history for the better, we could together move mountains.

As I write my speeches and envision myself speaking in front of all of you, sometimes I question myself… who am I to be up here preaching?  Then I remember, it’s my opportunity to make a difference… my responsibility to set a good example for my students… my challenge to rise to.  And so I give my best effort... a lesson taken from the martial arts.

All over the world people are struggling, starving, oppressed, tortured and dying.  Most of us here, we have it good, and we have a right to enjoy the lives we’ve earned and been afforded.  But on the other side of the coin, we can’t pretend to not see all that’s going wrong.  Without love and compassion humanity is lost.

Again, sometimes I question myself… what am I doing to help? Why am I not doing more, or even something other than teaching punches and kicks.  Then I remember, I am doing much more than teaching punches and kick.  I’m helping to build strength and character, to educate and empower on a multitude of levels.  I know that if I can influence just five of my own students to grow up and offer positive contributions, that would be five times more than just me doing it on my own.  And so here I am hoping to set the best example possible, and also to ask you to help tonight by generously participating in our first ever Youth Outreach Initiative auction and fundraiser.


Outreach Initiative & Team Introduction:  

Before I turn the stage over to the Outreach team, I’d like to share with you a little bit about the initiative.

It started with an idea and an invite to several teens back in March of this year.  We launched that same month with a team of six kids.

The team was first tasked to identify charities.  They were instructed to consider what they felt passionate about, to research the legitimacy of each charity and to be prepared to share their thoughts in detail with the group, so that the group could then vote for a team finalist.  Narrowing down the field wasn’t easy as the kids came up with over twenty worthy charities.

Next they needed to come up with ideas for how to raise money using tonight’s event as the vehicle.  They came up with several interesting ideas, and as a team narrowed it down to the auction.

Then, onto the task of collecting items.  This is when we started to experience a significant loss of team members… eventually, and unfortunately, being paired down to only two.  The remaining two were instructed to set collection goals and to keep in mind how much money they wanted to raise when setting these goals.  They were coached to make contact with decision makers and on how to communicate, both over the phone and in person, with businesses… we even went as far as writing call-scripts and rehearsing with each other.

The Youth Outreach Initiative is designed to educate my students, as much as it is to help the charities we will support.  Part of the vision, is to develop a program that is fully run by the kids, empowering them with skills, awareness, responsibility and desire.

I’m so proud of everyone who participated, Joe Laptin, Jean Vergara, William Michelson, Nathan Houlas… and especially proud and appreciative of the two who made the fundraiser possible, Dolce Sara and Conor Farley (the last two standing)!  Lets give them a huge round of applause!!  I would also like to acknowledge and express my thanks for the support and efforts of each participant's family, as without their help none of this is possible... special appreciation goes out to the Sara and Farley families.


Outreach Team Speech
Written by Dolce Sara and Conor Farley, both 13 years young


Dolce:  Hello how is everyone tonight? We are the Outreach Team.  We strive to give back to not only our community, but also to our country and our world, because we are all so fortunate. At the beginning of the year we got together and initiated what is now this great fundraiser for the American Red Cross. After much thought and research we chose and narrowed all of our charities down to these three great options:

Conor: The first one is the Laguna Ocean Foundation, because they are constantly and actively involved in costal resource management through all activities and programs.

The second one was The Child Abuse Prevention Center, which serves at-risk children and their families. This helps prevent and break the generational cycle of child abuse.

The last one was of course was the American Red Cross, who not only helps with geographical disasters in America, but they also support Americas military families, they have health and safety services, they give lifesaving blood, and they also have international services around the world.

Dolce: Right now they are in the Philippines helping the survivors of the devastating typhoon, Hiayan. Where over 3,621 victims drowned, were hit by debris, or trapped under rubble. This devastation is so wide that it is spread across six Philippine islands. The money that we raise tonight will help the survivors tomorrow. They are not run by Americas government, in fact over 94% of the supporters of the American Red Cross are just volunteers, and because of that we thought that is all of the more reason to help them.

Conor:  The Youth Outreach Initiative has given me a chance to climb out of my shyness shell a little bit, by having me gather donations from various companies and stores that I am not particularly familiar with. It has also given me chances to persevere and to embrace my indomitable spirit, by some companies not wanting to donate or not giving me info. Also it has been a lot of fun collaborating with my friends and deciding on charities and on how to raise the money.

Dolce:  In the Youth Outreach Initiative I have learned and experienced many new things, such as how to independently organize efforts and fundraisers. This initiative has helped teach me that little efforts do make a big difference, and it also opened my eyes and made me realize even more how fortunate we all are. There are some people who don’t have a home after a natural disaster came and destroyed it, they don’t have food to eat or a family to depend on.  It has also helped me learn how to work in harmony with others not just for the people that we are helping, but for my benefit too. This initiative has taught me many new things and I feel now that community service is essential to a more constructive and effective life and I am a better person because of this project.

Conor:  In the beginning of the year we got together and created a goal to help a cause and to acquire new skills, interests, and knowledge. When we researched causes to help, the American Red Cross was definitely the top on our list. Because when disasters hit they are there helping thousands of families bounce back. And they don’t do it because they have to, they do because they want to help.

Dolce:  We made a goal to raise over $1,000 for this cause and tonight we have an estimated amount of $2,000! We hope that we can double that number and give more to the people in need right now.

Conor:  For the future we hope that this initiative can keep growing so that we can inspire a bigger team of youths to give back to their community and the world. We hope that in the future we can raise over ten thousand dollars for more worthy causes. Though this process has been very challenging we have pushed through and we have achieved our goal.

Dolce:  Today lets help the people who have survived the typhoon in the Philippines. Lets help them bounce back. If a natural disaster were to hit here, the American Red Cross would be here helping survive what we went through, helping us bounce back.

Conor:  And now can we please have a moment of silence for the people of the tragedy in the Philippines.


Businesses that generously contributed products
and/or services for our auction: Click Here


Academic Achievers

Education helps lay the foundation for one’s future happiness and prosperity.  Education will open doors and holds the power to pave the way for peace and harmony.  It takes discipline and steady efforts to learn and achieve in school.  For these reasons and many more, it is important for me to support and encourage academic achievement. 

  • Dolce Sara 
  • Brayden Jenson 
  • Vincent Ewing
  • Shayne Corritori
  • Sterling Radisay
  • Nicholas Ushiyama
  • Alexandra Ushiyama
  • Caden Sprinkle
  • Jimmy Shea
  • Jacob Burdiek
  • Alyssa Sladeck
  • Ian Ekvall
  • Rex Bradshaw

Each of these kids has achieved a minimum of either straight A’s, straight A equivalent marks or 100% commitment to his or her best.  A few have even gone above and beyond earning them honors recognition for their achievements.  Let’s give them a big round of applause.

It's a plan of mine to develop a formal academics recognition program.  For now I have a small reward for all of these kids… $20 gift certificates to Active Culture.  Active Culture was nice enough to sponsor 50% of the card’s value.

Award Winners

I design all of the awards myself and they’re personalized for each kid.  I write, print and frame them all by hand. I believe the kid’s efforts over the year deserve this type of attention.  Hopefully they will hold onto their certificates so that the messaging will be around to remind them of what a success they've been and can always be.... that a teacher of theirs, really cared and believed in them.

  • Brayden Jenson, Runner-Up
    Prize: 2 Private Lessons
  • Maverick Maltin, One With Inherent Ability
    Prize: National Geographic Book Pack
  • Sterling Radisay, Resolute in Action
    Prize: Indiana Jones DVD Pack w/Whip
  • Luke Machin, Peace Officer
    Prize: 2 Surf Lessons w/Ryah Arthur
  • Shayne Corritori (2x winner), Steady and Strong
    Prize: The Classics Book Pack
  • Dolce Sara (3x winner), Valedictorian
    Prize: Apple TV