This Monday I went on behalf of the Bruce Lee Foundation to Sacramento to visit and speak with a group of kids who are enrolled in the Kovar Mustard Seeds Program. The Mustard Seed School is a school for homeless children. I learned that if you don't have a permanent physical address in the state of California, you are not eligible for public school so these homeless kids sit around in shelters all day (if they are lucky) with nothing to do. So the Mustard Seeds School was formed to help get these kids an education. This is great! But these kids were not getting any organized physical activity.
Enter Sophia Powers, our 2011 Bruce Lee Foundation scholarship winner. Sophia saw a need and stepped in to organize a program which teaches martial arts to these homeless kids at the Mustard Seed School. Dave Kovar of the Kovar school of martial arts was generous enough to loan his time, his facility and his instructors to this cause and the Kovar Mustard Seed Program was born.
Unfortunately, it is a statistic that 8 out of 10 of these homeless kids will encounter an act of violence by the time they are teenagers. They come often times from turbulent family environments and there there's life on the streets when you have no home. Teaching them martial arts is a great thing not only for self-defense reasons but for internal strength as well. The kids I met with up in Sacramento were great kids. They all were loving the martial arts intensive - they got to learn some very handy self-defense moves, yell at the top of their lungs and get a mighty boost of confidence from breaking a board, which they got to keep. They also had huddle discussions about positive attitudes, clear thinking and self respect. It was truly a great thing to be a part of.
For my part, I got to sit with them and talk to them about my father and his life story and beliefs. I handed out journals with Bruce Lee quotes inside, but the true gift was just getting to spend time with the kids. They were excited to be there and they were having fun. It was great to see good works in action and to be a small part of that in some way.
I congratulate Sophia for her hard work and dedication and I congratulate those kids for showing up and really participating. What an amazing experience!