When nine-year-old Jacob Dominguez saw that his martial arts instructor was raising funds online to support his nonprofit dojo (“school”), he wanted to help. With his father at his side, he asked Lia Suzuki Sensei, head instructor, for permission to do a fundraiser where he would ask friends and family members to sponsor him per roll. Permission was indeed granted and Jacob will be thrown over and over, limited only by his stamina.
“I’m doing this fund raiser so we can have more kids have a chance to join the class and be able to help the dojo.”, Jacob stated.
The local nonprofit, AKSB, admits students of all ages and socioeconomic levels. Thanks to donations from the public, sponsorships and sliding scale pricing is offered to those in need.
Suzuki Sensei, founder of AKSB, said her nonprofit organization is providing South Coast residents with a path toward peace. It encourages the practice of the Japanese non-violent martial art of aikido, promoting it as a vehicle for self-improvement and spiritual growth, and as a harmonious way to resolve everyday stress and conflict.
Suzuki Sensei expressed her surprise, “This is the first time a member of our youth program has decided independently to raise funds for the dojo. Usually, we have an organized fundraising event and tell the kids ahead of time. But being a new member in the dojo, Jacob didn’t even know about this.”
Per Jacob’s request, there will be no prizes for the participants this time. When Suzuki asked Jacob if he wanted prizes to be given out as in past fundraisers, he answered, “That seems like it would be selfish.”
Jacob’s father was quoted as saying, “Jacob can honor those around him by doing more for others than for himself. It is exciting for my wife, Suzie, and me to see him growing and becoming more involved in what life surrounds him with. It is my hope that others will follow his lead and choose to leave everything found, better than it was when they found it.”
Jacob has been announcing his fundraiser at the end of each class, inviting the other kids to participate. It is not yet know if or how many of the other kids will be participating in the fundraiser.
The organization will also hold a Belt Ceremony and Dojo Social on July 30th to give public recognition to children who recently tested for their belt rank.
The public is strongly encouraged to attend both events, in order to lend moral support and encouragement to Jacob and other participants.