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Martial arts students rise to good deeds challenge
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

August 20. 2013 9:34AM
When Rob Green challenged his students at Hoover’s Martial Arts in Brandon to “Make an Impact” this summer, he never imagined the kids would respond in such a dramatic way – both locally and throughout the world.

But that’s just what the kids did.

• Josiah and Amani Adams collected shoes for kids in African schools and orphanages.

• Adriauna Alexander collected 419 pounds of food for the Brandon Area Food Pantry, the most ever by a 9-year-old, according to Linda Weber, executive director of the BAFP.

• Tucker Taylor raised money for Special Olympics.

• Logan Stough outfitted 75 less-fortunate kids with backpacks, school supplies and new shoes for eight kids.

• Connor Erickson collected 327 books and gave them to children after reading to them in area daycares and churches.

• Abby and Matt Erkonen collected 40-plus beach towels and money for Royal Family Kids Camp.

• Lucas Schreck held a carwash and piano recital and gave the proceeds from both to the Khor Wakow School Project.

• Sydney Nifong and Mikela Birath provided meals for teen mothers involved in the local Teen MOPS program.

• Nick Meyer gathered 36 pair of new socks for the Children’s Inn Society.

• Jenna Vis volunteered at the humane society.

• Cade Houge made cookies and lemonade and sold them to raise money for the Northwest Iowa Humane Society.

• Colton Padgett picked up more trash in the community than he weighs.

• Max Faber brightened the days of others by handing out gift certificates, helping in his grandma’s garden and cleaning a park.

• Morgan Westendorf volunteered at the humane society and delivered 49 pounds of blankets and five Hope Dolls to Sanford Children’s Hospital.

• Tucker Taylor set up a combined lemonade-popcorn-hotdog stand to raise money for Special Olympics.

• Taylor Warner collected 400 food items for the Larchwood (Iowa) Food Bank.

• Brayden Cline raised money to buy a bike for a child at his mom’s school that can’t afford one.

• Elliot and Damen Visscher collected 45 dry wipe boards and markers and sent them to children in Costa Rica to use.

“When you think about it, there have been thousands of dollars generated toward different goals and different organizations and charities. It took off in a way that I was really surprised with and pleased with,” said Green, who returned recently from his own service trip to Costa Rica.

“I wanted to instill that same sense of community and giving. Here, they punch and kick and people talk about attitude and respect. But our job is more than turning these kids into spectacular athletes. … it’s also to help them be a good person, so Make an Impact was a chance to bring it alive.”

Green coined the “breadth and the diversity of the projects” as “fantastic.”

“They had ideas that I would’ve never come up,” he said.

Carrying out the service project wasn’t the only part of this project, Green informed. Each student was asked to submit a project application and write an essay as well. “That made it a tedious project,” Green said.

Colton Padgett’s good deed was to collect more trash than he weighs. The 7-year-old barely tips the scale at 52 pounds, but he picked up his weight in garbage at 56 pounds.

“It only took me 11 days,” he said.

Logan Stough said he garnered a good feeling by gathering enough cash donations – $2,800 – to supply 75 less-fortunate kids with backpacks and school supplies. He even had enough leftover cash to purchase eight gift cards intended for new school shoes.
“I felt very happy for the kids who have backpacks now,” he said.
Logan’s mother, Tara, was especially proud of her young son’s effort.
“It’s a great thing,” she said, “especially for Logan, who’s so shy. It helped him come out of his shell a little bit.”
Tara Stough said she was also overwhelmed by the community’s giving spirit. “The people in Brandon are amazing,” she said.

While pulling her wagon behind or riding her bike, Adriauna Alexander went door-to-door asking for donations to the BAFP.

“I thought people who can’t afford food needed food,” she said. “And I’m happy that I got to help people.”

While all of the Make an Impact projects were worthy endeavors, Green did pick a grand prize winner, two second place and two third place winners, and they received various prizes.

Because of the success of the initial Make an Impact program, Green says he’ll challenge his martial arts students again next summer.

“It’s so great for me to see something like martial arts be used so positively,” he said.

Good deeds were abundant in the Brandon area this summer, as students of Hoover's Martial Arts in Brandon took part in the summer Make an Impact program. Students who "made an impact" are, from left, row one: Lucas Schreck, Matt Erkonen, Tucker Taylor, Josiah Adams, Amani Adams, Colton Padgett and Morgan Westendorf; row two: Logan Stough, Adriauna Alexander, Jenna Vis, Connor Erickson and Max Faber. Submitted photo

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