The SwiftKick Break-a-Thon, held on August 25th at the studio, was a huge success! We had a great turn out and a lot of fun! The event was organized to support Chelsea’s Light Foundation, a foundation created to inspire community awareness and positive change in our community for the protection of our children. Much positive energy was expressed as peers, friends and family cheered with each and every board that splintered. But even more inspiring was the feeling in the air. It was as if every foot, fist, elbow and head that broke through a board expressed courage, strength, and a strong statement: We remember Chelsea and we, as young people, are taking a stand against anyone who would harm kids in our community.
Chelsea’s Light Foundation was founded by local San Diegans Kelly and Brent King in response to the murder of Chelsea, their 17-year-old daughter. Chelsea was out for a run when she was assaulted. Chelsea was a bright light with her enthusiasm for life, her optimism, and her indomitable spirit. Her parents created the foundation to continue this light and encourage “changemakers” to make a difference. The foundation’s mission is to unite people who are passionate about protecting our children and inspiring positive change in their community.
When asked specifically why SwiftKick chose Chelsea’s Light Foundation for our break-a-thon fundraiser, Brian Cowell—CEO and founder of SwiftKick Martial Arts—explained, “Their mission is close to our heart. Our entire training curriculum is designed to help our students develop functional, practical martial arts skills that will be be effective in a self-preservation situation. The story of Chelsea King is tragic. It is our hope that no student ever need to use the skills we teach for self-defense. However, it is our goal that we equip and empower our members with the physical and psychological skills that could mean the difference between life and death if they are attacked…I loved seeing our students be empowered by the board break-a-thon, knowing the skills they are learning in class can work should the need arise.”
We really did feel a sense of purpose and empowerment as our kids went out and raised money and courageously broke the boards. One particular SwiftKick student, Alexander McBrayer, raised over 400 dollars! When asked what motivated him to get out there and raise that kind of money for the cause he explained, “I remember everything that happened. My mother is a Crime Analyst for the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and was called in to help. That’s how I first learned of what was going on. I remember every day when I’d see the TV, regardless of the channel, the different news stations kept either Chelsea King’s name on the bottom of the screen or a picture of her on the top with her name. And I remembered seeing her parent’s interviews and reading them. So this is why I worked as hard as I did to earn as many donations as I could for Chelsea’s Light Foundation.”
The involvement of many people such as Alexander simply came as a result of awareness and passion. We would like to give a BIG thanks to all those kids who went out and raised money and broke boards! This really displayed the “Go big or go home” attitude Chelsea had. She knew that great things are not accomplished without great effort, passion and great commitment and identified these qualities as an essential part of being a changemaker. Brian Cowell was very impressed with the involvement of his students. He commented, “What I loved most about this event is that it was KIDS raising money for Chelsea\’s Light Foundation. Kids having a right to uphold their innocence and experience a life free of the tragedy Chelsea experienced is very close to the Foundation\’s heart and the fact that KIDS are raising money and awareness for this cause was great. ”
Robin Liszewski, Executive Director of Chelsea’s Light Foundation, was so pleased with what went on. She offered, “Thank you again for sharing so much of your enthusiasm, passion for protecting children and generosity with Chelsea’s Light Foundation. More than anything else our Foundation strives to show people that an engaged community can accomplish so much. Our Board member Bill Reh was so overwhelmed with the event you created and I know the Kings would have loved to be a part of it too. By taking on the Break-a-thon and building awareness about the need to get involved to help keep our kids safe, you have so vividly demonstrated that an individual, a business or a community can truly make a difference.”
Many hours of volunteer hours were poured into the event to make it what it was. One such volunteer, Angela Butler, shared, “I wanted to get local businesses to give back to their communities in a way that would benefit our children and teens. It is not often when we locally have the ability to make a difference. In this case, Chelsea’s Light was founded because of a terrible tragedy with a local young woman where her right to live her life freely and in safety doing what she loved—taking a run and staying fit—was suddenly and horribly taken away from her. SwiftKick consciously chose to sponsor and host this event, in addition to teaching everyone that walks through their doors how to protect themselves and our God-given rights. They have made it part of their mission as a business. I think that says a great deal about their integrity and motivation in doing business. That means the world to me and I would gladly give my time to support that effort.”
Thank you Angela Butler for pounding the pavement and collecting all those fantastic items for our silent auctions! Thank you Tammy Marden for jumping all over the food and refreshments table. Thank you Rachael Dziulak for coordinating the whole \”boards\” project! Thank you Pam and Doug for just helping wherever we needed you and Michele and Curt for emcee and sound. And thank you to so many more for your efforts, generosity and help which made this event possible! Hats off to Brian for coordinating the featured board-breakers show and the featured board breakers for putting on such an amazing show!
Besides all the generous private donations we would also like to thank the following people for donating items for our silent auction. Angela Butler, Rebecca Herman, Wayne McBrayer (awesome Padre Tickets and memorabilia). Mike Harden from Hodad\’s, Massage Envy RB, Lindsay Herrell—Brush Real Estate, Fifty Barrels Winery, Doug Reynolds and Pam—Truestar Health, Ferrara Winery, Ofelia Winery, Joey Sowka—MMA Fight Tickets, Minoo Anvari—Unicorn Jewelry, Rachael and Peter Dziulak—Village Blocksmith, Golf Tec RB, Cafe Merlot, Chick-fil-A & Escondido Lumber Company. All of your generous donations enabled SwiftKick to raise over 7,000 dollars!! Because of you Chelsea’s light will never die.