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Martial Arts Family Fitness, DRI Team Up for Haiti Relief

Students and staff are seeking pledges for May 1's 'Kickin’ for Haiti' fundraiser

Martial Arts Family Fitness, a family-owned and operated Santa Barbara school dedicated to improving lives through martial arts, is partnering with Direct Relief International to raise money for the people of Haiti.

The fundraiser, dubbed “Kickin’ for Haiti,” take place at the school’s facility, 122 E. Gutierrez St. in Santa Barbara, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. May 1.

“Like many people throughout the world, we are deeply saddened by the devastating earthquake that destroyed much of Haiti,” said Dave Wheaton, founder and owner of Martial Arts Family Fitness. “Our goal is to raise $25,000 to assist in Direct Relief’s efforts in Haiti. Our school teaches leadership and life skills to our students, which includes helping others in a time of need. Through the efforts and leadership of our students and their families, we are confident that we will be able to assist the people of Haiti and meet the financial goal we have set.”

“Given the intense public attention devoted to Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, it is perhaps inevitable that the attention has waned. It always does,” said Thomas Tighe, president and CEO of Direct Relief International. “But, as the people of Haiti begin to rebuild their lives, Direct Relief will be there to help.”

“The response from locals to the crisis in Haiti has been phenomenal, not to mention that of the international community,” added Melodee Meyer, co-owner of Martial Arts Family Fitness. “We cannot forget that people not only need help right after a major catastrophe like this, but they also need it in the months following. They need help rebuilding their lives and communities, they need continued medical attention and supplies, and they need help moving forward. We are so honored to be working with Direct Relief and doing our small part. We invite the larger Santa Barbara community to join us, donate money and help Haitians rebuild.”

Leading up to the fundraiser, students and staff of Martial Arts Family Fitness will have an opportunity to receive commitments for “per-kick” or “flat” pledges.

“We will raise money through various means, including a kick-a-thon, sponsorship from local business and a silent auction,” Wheaton said. “During the event, we will offer student demonstrations, a kid’s safety seminar and so much more.”

Click here to support the effort.

— Alex Rodriguez represents Martial Arts Family Fitness.

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