Kids break boards to help other kids stay warm
Green belt Tae Kwon Do practitioner Cordell Rider, 14, of Greenfield side-kicks a board, breaking it with his foot, while purple belt David Wilson holds the board. Rider and other youth at Greenfield Tae Kwon Do Center are collecting pledges and breaking boards donated by local lumber yards in a fundraising effort for Warm the Children.
GREENFIELD — When 12-year-old Emma Worth imagines other children her age shivering with no coats, mittens or sweaters to keep them warm during the winter, she wants to do something to help.
And so, Worth breaks boards with her hands, feet and elbows.
On Nov. 16 at 9 a.m., Worth will break about 100 boards using techniques she learned at Greenfield Tae Kwon Do Center at 102 Federal St. as part of the annual break-athon fundraiser.
For 11 years, students at the Korean martial arts school, led by master instructor David Johnson, will break about 1,500 boards to raise money for Warm the Children.
“This is something I can do to help people,” said Worth. “I can’t imagine what those kids feel like. I don’t want people to feel that way.”
For more than 26 years, Warm the Children, run by The Recorder, has raised money to buy clothes for about 1,000 children in the community each year.
“It’s the single community service project we do every year,” Johnson said. “(The students) get behind this. Kids helping kids. How much better than that does it get?”
For the three-hour break-athon, students seek pledges from the community.
The roughly two dozen students use a variety of techniques to break the boards, from side kicks to punches. No one is allowed to participate without training first.
“It serves the students. It helps them become better practitioners,” Johnson said. “It’s all about technique, another learning opportunity.”
As students prepare to break boards, they think about other children who are less fortunate.
“I think about how I wouldn’t want to be cold every day,” said 8-year-old Jerry Trudeau.
Simultaneously helping children and doing something he enjoys is a plus to Seth Rider, 15, who has participated in the event five times.
“It feels good. We get money to help kids and they know people care,” Rider said.
Over the years, the students have raised about $55,000.
“First off, we’re very grateful to the community,” said Johnson. “It’s about helping the local kids. The community has really got behind us. We couldn’t do it if the community didn’t put their heart behind it.”
In addition, local lumber companies have donated wood to the cause. Donations have come from Leader Lumber of Greenfield and Lamore Lumber of Deerfield and Jay and James Clarke Wood-mizer Sawmill of South Deerfield.
“I can’t tell you how appreciative I am,” Johnson said.
Each year, after the break-athon, The Recorder runs a classified advertisement offering the leftover wood for $5 a bundle for kindling. This money also goes to Warm the Children.
To donate to Warm the Children, send a check to: Warm the Children, c/o The Recorder, P.O. Box 1367, Greenfield, MA 01302. New clothing may also be dropped off at The Recorder, 14 Hope St., any time during the year.
The Recorder will carry weekly stories about the progress of this year’s drive and the people helping and helped.
If you have stories to tell about Warm The Children or plan fundraisers, let us know. Call 772-0261, ext 245, or write to: firstname.lastname@example.org