Free Handicapped Karate Class Continues to Thrive – CBS Philly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A martial arts studio in Northeast Philadelphia is bringing karate to the disabled after some pandemic hubs.

Last year, we met Mark Gallagher and his wife Alicia. They founded the AmeriKick Cares Foundation. In January 2020, they started a free weekly class for special needs, from elementary school to adult.

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Mark explained at the time, “They don’t get the opportunity all the time to have their own environment, and this is just a positive room with a lot of energy, and it’s just for them.”

Just a few weeks later, the karate studio had to close due to COVID. But AmeriKick Cares didn’t stop.

By late spring, their classes had moved to local parks, and the class was back again in person.

“They just kept the ball rolling for our kids,” said mum Dawn Powell.

Powell’s son, Anthony, is just one of the students back in class.

“He loves it. My son is on the spectrum. There are not many opportunities for children outside,” she said.

“Our students are great,” Mark said. “They’ve been adjusting, and the parents are adjusting.”

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Now that he’s back in person, the class is getting smaller, about 20 masks required.

“We still reserve Zoom, though, for anyone who isn’t comfortable attending,” Alicia said.

Twelve-year-old Julie Weiner has started class during the pandemic and loves discipline, says her mother, Jill.

“She thrives on routine, so Karate is on Wednesday nights every week and she loves it,” Jill said.

It was the same for her classmate Justin. His father, Justin Reed, said, “It was really exciting. The class is exceptional.”

This class could have become a victim of the epidemic, but it has not. Mark gives a lot of credit to students and parents.

“Everyone is working really hard at keeping this program alive,” Mark said.

More news: No toxic chemicals were found in air samples taken after a massive fire at a scrap yard in southwest Philadelphia.

AmeriKick hopes to add a second category. To contact the studio, call the studio at 215-708-CHOP (215-708-2467) or give them a call On their Facebook page.


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