Wednesday, November 25 , 2015, 10:18 pm | Fair 47º

Aikido Kenkyukai Santa Barbara Kicks Off Facebook Challenge

The nonprofit will sponsor one children for every 20 new online fans it receives during September

By Joni Kelly |

In an effort to raise awareness of its mission, Aikido Kenkyukai Santa Barbara will begin a monthlong “fan drive” on Facebook.

For the month of September, AKSB is challenging Facebook members to become a fan of the AKSB Facebook page and will sponsor one child from a low-income family for every 20 new fans it receives beginning Sept. 1. The drive will end when AKSB has acquired 400 new fans or on Sept. 30 — whichever comes first.

Aikido Kenkyukai Santa Barbara is a nonprofit organization that seeks to give at-risk or underprivileged youths an opportunity to develop emotionally, physically and spiritually through the practice of the Japanese nonviolent martial art of aikido. Children who are sponsored will be given the opportunity to practice aikido at no cost, for one month, under the supervision of Lia Suzuki Sensei, 5th dan, and other instructors. The cost of the uniform, bokto (wooden practice sword), registration and membership fees all will be covered by the sponsorship, a $185 value.

“Our mission statement at Aikido Kenkyukai Santa Barbara is ‘to pass down the true message of Aikido — The Art of Peace — and to nurture a better society by creating individuals of responsibility, compassion, judgment and character,” said Suzuki, executive director and head instructor of the program. “In these trying economic times, the need to provide sponsorship for children in lower socioeconomic income levels has risen significantly. With an increase in unemployment and foreclosures, and the challenge of finding affordable qualified child care, many families face profound challenges with other problems such as violence, alcoholism and substance abuse. Children — now more than ever — need the safe, consistent support that Aikido Kenkyukai Santa Barbara offers.”

AKSB volunteer Elizabeth Cortez said: “We began this campaign to get more fans for our Facebook page in the hope that we can make the community more aware of our cause and the problems that affect Santa Barbara youth. If we can successfully mobilize large numbers of the Facebook community to join a fan page, then we will be gaining support for the mission of AKSB’s program.”

Call 805.870.5437 for more information or click here to make a donation.

— Joni Kelly represents Aikido Kenkyukai Santa Barbara.

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