COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Community outreach programs like extracurricular activities can help deter crime, especially among younger people.
With the rise in recent violence across the city, residents, business owners and city officials are working towards a common goal – making Columbus safer.
A local taekwondo studio is offering after-school classes to help keep children out of trouble. Momentum Taekwondo Plus has been a part of the community for close to 25 years – offering classes to children and adults.
CEO and co-founder of the fitness studio, Daniel Bellware, says one father looks to Momentum Taekwondo to help his son stay on the right track and not be known as a statistic.
“The father is very concerned,” said Bellware. “He doesn’t want his son to become labeled. He doesn’t want his son to end up, you know, in the system. And so he wants to find him a good outlet where he can be sociable and have that energy released and make friends and be a positive place. And we try we strive to be that.”
Classes are split up by age in order to focus on the child’s development. The studio offers an after-school program, providing childcare for parents and opportunities for children to set and achieve goals and make new friends.
Momentum Taekwondo believes that martial arts can be for everyone, regardless of age, gender or experience levels. They teach their students leadership, strength, commitment, knowledge, respect.
“Educating myself and educating my team on is how are you going to address a child who’s having a tantrum or a meltdown,” said Bellware. “They don’t know how to handle these big feelings, so let’s help them learn how to. And then it’s not going to be as big of a problem when they get further down the road, when something enrages them as a teenager, they’re not going to resort to violence because they’ve learned how to manage that.
Momentum Taekwondo currently provides free daily transportation for students from Mathews Elementary, Midland Academy, and Eagle Ridge. Once they arrive to the studio, the children participate in a daily sport – martial arts, tumbling or hip hop dance. The coaches and staff make sure they can also focus on “black belt behavior”, where students have some quiet time to work on homework.