10-Year-Old Taekwondo Athlete Serving Those Overseas

"Because they're protecting our country and risking their lives"

In sports, most coaches teach their players about discipline and responsibility while on the field, court or mat.

But one taekwondo facility is taking these lessons to the next level.

Hoover’s Martial Arts in Brandon wants athletes to use core values in the real world, and it may be helping those overseas.

From punching, to blocking punches and holding a strong stance, athletes at the facility are working hard to move up the belt color ladder.

The highest achievement is the 9th degree black belt.

“When they come in here, they want their black belt,” says lead instructor Mariah Greenhoff.

But that’s not the only thing these kids are putting their effort toward.

“We want them to really practice the core values that we teach them here, and then take that outside of the taekwondo school,” explains Greenhoff.

Each year, the kids participate in a community service project, or what they call a ‘make an impact project’.

“It started as a veteran’s project, but then me and my thought well, why we couldn’t do more,” says 10-year-old Dylan Drexler.

Dylan decided he would dedicate his project to those serving overseas, “because they’re protecting our country and risking their lives out there,” he says.

To show appreciate, Dylan is writing thank you notes to people in the military and collecting money through a GoFundMe page, to send them care packages as well.

“We’re putting in some games, movies, gum, batteries,” says Dylan. “I want them to feel like ‘sick I got a care package!’”

“I think it’s great that this is something that Dylan wants to do,” adds his mom, Hannah Drexler. “No matter if it’s going to be military or other events, I just think it’s good for kids to know that they need to be involved in their communities.”

Even if that lesson involves some extra work, like gritting through that last push-up, or extending that stretch an extra inch.

“To show how we can use what we learn in sports and school, and give back to other people who aren’t as fortunate,” says Greenhoff.

Or as Dylan would say, “to not be one of those people who see someone trip and go ‘haha’, I’d ask if they were alright, not just point!”

It’s not just Dylan who is giving back this summer.

Other kids at Hoover’s Martial Arts in Brandon are collecting dog food for the humane society and blankets for kids in the hospital.

The projects end on Aug. 5.

For information on how you can be part of these projects, visit BrandonMartialArts.com .