Our students and instructors pick charities every year to get involved with. This helps us learn more about our community and to apply our martial arts training in a real way through leadership and support of fund raisers or other awareness raising events. Matt Pasquinilli, the head instructor at the Asian Arts Center Taekwondo School, has chosen Secret Smiles of Dayton to be one of his, and the school’s, permanent support partners. Please watch this video to learn more about Secret Smiles.
Out of the Dojo and Into the World!!!
JustWorld International’s newest initiative, the ‘Adopt a Project’ campaign, is continuing to gain momentum with supporters now extending well beyond JustWorld’s own Rider and Technical Ambassadors. JustWorld International is a not-for-profit humanitarian organization working as a catalyst for positive change in the developing world by helping impoverished children.
Officially launched on June 4, the ‘Adopt a Project’ campaign is aimed at making it even easier for supporters to get involved and choose exactly which programs they would like their donations to fund. The ‘Adopt a Project’ campaign identifies opportunities to support specific education, nutrition, health and hygiene, and leadership and cultural development programs. Donors can ‘adopt’ specific programs at JustWorld’s project sites in Brazil, Cambodia, Guatemala, and Honduras.
The new campaign is a great opportunity for individuals, groups and businesses to get involved and help to provide critical operational support to JustWorld International, even if they’re not directly apart of JustWorld’s key equestrian audience.
Matt Pasquinilli of Dayton, OH, found himself becoming involved with JustWorld International three years ago when his niece, JustWorld Rider Ambassador Thiele Schroeder, needed help with one of her fundraising efforts.
“Thiele was preparing for her second degree black belt test and was required to participate in, or lead, a community service project as part of that,” explained Pasquinilli, who is the executive director of a non-profit martial arts school in his hometown. “She came to me and asked if I would help her organize a Break-A-Thon as a fundraiser for JustWorld International that would support a sports program at the project site in Honduras. Thiele enlisted the help of about a hundred other martial artists, who then asked family and friends to pledge money for wooden board that they would try to break in one minute at the Break-A-Thon event. In this way, she was able to introduce JustWorld International to people who were not in the ‘horse world’, but saw the value in JustWorld’s mission. We raised over $10,000 and had a great time.”
Since helping with the Break-A-Thon, Pasquinilli has become a strong supporter of JustWorld International, and has even ‘adopted’ two projects himself. The first, a Painting Program in Tornabe, Honduras, helps foster children’s artistic expression while preserving their cultural identity.
“I liked the idea of helping the participants in the program learn a skill that allows them to provide an income for themselves and their families,” said Pasquinilli.
Pasquinilli was also part of the JustWorld delegation that recently travelled to the JustWorld project site in Guatemala.
“I visited this past May with some of the JustWorld International Ambassadors,” he explained. “I spent time there teaching martial arts to children and young adults in the program. I also arranged for some of my friends from Guatemala City to come and give a special martial arts demonstration to the children at Los Patojos. It was very well received.”
He continued, “I spent an extra week in Guatemala so that I would have more time to spend at Los Patojos getting to know the children and staff, and was immensely impressed with the power of the JustWorld International programs to transform lives in a positive and meaningful way. I am amazed at how much JustWorld International does every single day to fundamentally improve hundreds of lives with education, nutrition, art, dance, a sense of community and a great and growing clinic.”
It was that first-hand experience that led to Pasquinilli’s decision to fund a second JustWorld International program, an Urban Arts Program at Los Patojos, Guatemala.
“During my visit, I met the teachers and students in the program,” he said. “I was greatly impressed with everything about the project and am delighted that I get to participate in its funding. I always give 10% of my income to charity, and I allocated my 10% to JustWorld International this year. I have a watch made on my birthday each year with the logo of my chosen charity, so this year, I have a JustWorld International logo watch. Wearing it reminds me of the projects I have adopted and lets me talk to others about JustWorld International when they notice my watch.”
Pasquinilli is already planning to return to Los Patojos in November and hopes to visit other JustWorld projects in the coming years.
The ‘Adopt a Project’ campaign offers a number of different initiatives across JustWorld’s project sites. All are focused on enhancing and increasing JustWorld’s work in the areas of education, health, nutrition, and leadership and cultural development.
Examples of projects available for adoption include the Los Patojos Afterschool Tutoring Program, which helps provide tutoring for more than 250 students in Jocotenango, Guatemala, for $36,000 US per year or $130 per child; the Natalie Johnson Center Snack Program, which helps provide more than 130 daily meals in Tornabe, Honduras, for $6,000 US or $40 per child, or PIO Uniform Program, which provides school uniforms to more than 650 students in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for $10,000 US or $14 per child.