Lithia FL After School Program builds so much self-confidence and respect that Your Child Will Shine!

FishHawk Martial Arts Instructor Shows you How

Dear Caring Mom and Dad,

When I became a parent, I became aware of all the dangers and pitfalls that can happen along the way.  Every step of the way my wife and I are faced with decisions that can have repercussions for many years to come in the lives of our children.

My name is Manny Cabrera III and I’m the father of twin boys— Jonas & Manny IV.  I’m also the Chief Instructor at Sidekicks Family Martial Arts Centers, right here in FishHawk Ranch.  For many years, I’ve been lucky and privileged to interact with hundreds of children and their parents over the years through the various programs that we offer at Sidekicks and through the community in the many community events and charitable projects I work with. 

It's kind of hard to get toddlers to sit still for pictures, much less twins, so here's me with one of my boys...

When designing our A+ AfterSchool Program we took all of that knowledge into account in order to combat the Four Major Pitfalls of Childhood.  But before we go into the solution, let’s make sure we understand the problem.

... and here's the other one trying to pull my hair out!

Four Major Pitfalls of Childhood.


1.  Bullying

According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Centers, nearly 30% of children are involved in bullying as victims, perpetrators, or both.  That’s an astounding 5.7 million children!

These same studies show that children that are different from the perceived ideal norm are up to 63% more likely to be bullied.  These include obese kids, gay youth, kids with learning disabilities, speech impediments, ADHD, medical conditions that affect their appearance (like cerebal palsy), and quiet/shy/introverted children.

As it turns out, boys and girls get bullied differently.  The most frequent type of bullying experienced by both genders is verbal.  However, according to these studies, boys are much more likely to be hit, slapped, pushed, or exposed to other kinds of physical bullying.  Girls are at a greater risk of being socially excluded, having rumors spread about them, or targeted with sexual comments

With cyberbullying becoming a national topic, many parents are becoming aware that the bullying isn’t ending once children return home from school—it’s taking on a much more terrifying and constant pressure with just the click of a button.

2.       Childhood Obesity

No child should ever be teased or devalued because of their weight or how they look or if they don’t look like the airbrushed models seen in magazines, on TV , and in music videos.  However, from a health standpoint, childhood obesity IS something to be concerned about.  According to the CDC’s own 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey 12% of high schoolers were obese.  That means that 12% of children ages 13 to 18 are in the 95th percentile for their weight.  It’s no wonder that kids are getting heavier, 23% of these same high schoolers reported that they participated in NO physical activity on any day during the 7 days leading up to completing the survey.  What was even more alarming about that 67% of them didn’t participate in any kind of P.E. class during school.

Combine this with poor eating habits (86% reported not eating at least servings of vegetables three times in any one day over a 7 day period) and you have a recipe for disaster.  Children simply aren’t doing the things we did as kids 20, 30, even 40 years ago that kept them healthy and fit.  Playing outside has been replaced by video games and marathon television watching.

While healthy weight, according to the survey is represented through their BMI (Body Mass Index), I think healthy weight should be the ideal weight for a child that puts him or her at less risk of things like diabetes, heart problems, joint injuries, and a whole host of other potential maladies that are related to excessive weight.

 3.       Lack of Positive Role Models

Many parents I talk to tell me they feel an erosion of positive role models in our society.  They point to celebrities, music, video games, misbehaving politicians, peers that are a bad influence, and in some cases even the poor behavior of the other parent as the sources of bad examples for their children.  In a recent study of several thousand young people in Texas, a shocking 24% of the kids couldn’t name a single person as their “biggest hero.”  Who’s advising these kids on how to be, what’s acceptable behavior, how to grow up healthy, how to succeed in life?  In far too many cases—NO ONE!

Now, the very fact that you’re reading this tells me you are the type of parent that cares about the well being of his or her child and probably a pretty good role model yourself.  However, the highest achieving kids, the ones that reach their full potential, are surrounded by positive role models that push them to be better.  Unfortunately, from a media perspective there seems to be a vacuum.

It seems everywhere you look we’re seeing bad examples.  It’s almost like Stockholm syndrome.  After a while of seeing these bad examples, kids begin to think that those examples are the way to go.  Things they hear and see begin to pop up in their speech, behavior and clothing.  Someone once told me that if you hear a lie long enough and enthusiastically enough, you’ll eventually begin to believe.  That’s what’s happening with our kids everyday.

4.       Lack of Confidence and Feelings of Isolation that Lead to Self-Destructive Behavior.

Many days, I sit down and watch the news and I’m heartbroken to hear of children and teenagers that have taken their own lives because they felt like it was the only out they had.

Unfortunately, more and more children are suffering from feelings of depression and isolation.  Many people think that children can’t suffer from depression because they are too young or don’t have enough life experience to have any idea of what they could be depressed about.  Regardless of what many think there are a significant number of kids that do suffer from childhood depression.  There are a variety of factors that can cause it from trauma during childhood, like the death of a parent, life-threatening illness or a number of other things.  For others, it’s simply hereditary.

The truth is that pre-school aged children are the fastest growing age group to be prescribed anti-depressants.  As it stands, girls are prescribed anti-depressants twice as often as boys.  And it’s only becoming more alarming.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health that suicide is now the 6th leading cause of death for 5 to 14 year olds and the number of attempted suicides is much higher.

Everyone has a theory as to why more and more children are experiencing depression.  What is clear is that there are some common threads between children that are depressed and are also:

  • Stressed – Over Scheduled children with too many daily stressors
  • Family Instability – Any time that there is instability in the home, on any level, the children involved pay a heavy price.
  • Genetics – There are links that if parents are depressed then their children tend to be more prone to depression.
  • Drug and Alcohol use – It’s hard to say which comes first, depression or substance abuse.  What we do know is that childhood depression and childhood substance and alcohol abuse are both closely linked.

Depression is not just a “grown up” problem.  A growing number of kids are suffering from this debilitating disorder everyday.  If you suspect your child has major depression, you should seek the help of a mental health professional right away.  GET THEM HELP NOW!  In fact, give me a call and I’ll be happy to recommend a few whom I’ve developed relationships with over time.

There’s also a large contingent of children that suffer from the effects of temporary depression, lack of confidence, or are persistently shy.  Eighty percent of children entering first grade have a positive attitude and high self-esteem.  Yet, eighty percent of children entering third grade suffer from low self-esteem.  Surprising, yes?  But the reason isn’t because they are two years older, but rather due to having daily endured two years of negative input and bad influences that the environment around inflicts on them.  Just as with Adult Americans are looking for quick solutions to every problem, the constant social and psychological reinforcing of this same expectation of instant gratification is, according to author Greg Silva, causing kids to lose confidence, self-esteem, and patience.

You also have to navigate all of these pitfalls and potential problems while trying to support your family with a fulltime job.  In most households it’s a given that both parents work (especially if that household has been split by divorce) causing them to seek out child care for their children in the gap between the end of their school day and when you return home from work.  Unfortunately, many of the triggers for many of the childhood pitfalls still exist at your traditional daycare or school provided child care facility.  Sometimes, they’re magnified because children are given more freedom of movement and aren’t entirely watched as closely or stimulated they way they are at school.

Children crave structure and in many child care facilities there isn’t a whole lot of structure because they are little more than kid corrals.  As you know, a lack of structure leads to more behavioral problems, an increase in bullying, and a rise in accidental injuries.  In the case of behavior problems, those aren’t limited to just at the daycare, they will follow your child home and impact the time you spend together, even in how they talk.  I know this isn’t the type of thing you want for your children, because it’s not the type of think I want for mine.

The reason children end up in places like this has a variety of factors, however in the end it comes down usually to cost and convenience.  Many parents, mindful of how much of their monthly income is going towards childcare often enroll their children at one of these traditional child care facilities or a home-based one, or with a family friend in an effort to save money.  However, when all these pitfalls of childhood begin to rear their heads in your child’s life, is the savings really worth it?

I understand that you’re busy.  Many parents just like you feel overwhelmed with all the day to day pressure that it’s usually just easier to keep their children in a program that doesn’t server their child’s needs to the best of their ability.  If you’re like me, you’re not willing to accept the status quo.  You want better for your children and I believe I have just the thing.

A Healthy Alternative to Day Care and other less effective programs.

What if I told you that there was an alternative to all those other kinds of child care (HOST, traditional kid corralling day cares, in home babysitting, having a neighbor “listen out” for them)?  One that not only helps your child avoid those pitfalls of childhood, but actually taught them powerful lessons that would help them succeed in all the other areas of their lives.  No, I’m not talking about some sort of magic pill or even something completely new.  What I’m referring to is the incredible benefits of the personal development training in the A+ After School Program at Sidekicks Family Martial Arts Centers.

Martial Art training is not a new and fad style of training to develop the whole person—they’ve been around for hundreds and hundreds of years.  In fact, almost 7 million Americans will experience training in the martial arts this year.  Right here in our community, I have had the opportunity to help almost a thousand kids become more confident, lose weight, develop fitness, and develop respect for themselves, their parents, and others.  I know firsthand the benefits that a strong martial art based personal development program can have on kids, because I grew up doing martial arts in my dad’s school.  He’s been teaching and training for over 40 years!  Every day I saw my friends in class come out of their shells, not afraid to raise their hands in school and ask questions, become incredibly fit, get recruited for travel sports teams and smile—all the time!

The FishHawk After-School Karate Program at Sidekicks Family Martial Arts Centers in Lithia, FL is a healthy alternative to daycare and other child care programs.  It’s the perfect answer to your family’s busy schedule.  We transport from local area schools, give an opportunity for homework time and an exciting martial arts class everyday that emphasizes not only self-respect, but also respect for parents and teachers.

Through our Transported After-School Karate Program, located in the FishHawk and New Tampa areas your child will:

  • Increase fitness and get in shape.
  • Achieve academic heights you’ve never dreamed.
  • Develop the kind of character other parents will envy.
  • Protect him or her self mentally and physically from all kinds of dangers.
  • Make success and thinking a way of life.

Best of all, this is developed during the same time your child would normally be running loose on the playground essentially ignored by the staff as long as your child isn’t crying or bleeding.

Creating a Future of Learning and Success for your Child through Transported After-School Martial Arts

We continually teach the life changing benefits of martial arts training everyday without your child getting bored.  That has to do with our unique program and our attitude.  Like you, we want the people interacting with your child to be excited about what he or she can do to help others.  We can tell you, based on our experience interacting with experts in the child care industry that our attitude with our After-School is definitely different.  This is simply because each one of our trained instructors genuinely cares about each and every student.  We are also committed to helping each student succeed in their academic lives, personal lives, and physical well being.

Our exciting after-school curriculum was created in conjunction with child psychologists and centers around a monthly character development theme with each day’s activities designed around that theme to reinforce the positive values of the martial arts program at SIDEKICKS and help instill them in your child.  It’s actually a system called the Powerful Words system and it was designed by our very own Child Development Expert – Dr. Robyn Silverman…maybe you saw her recently on the Today Show or Good Morning America?

Each week our instructors meet specifically to go over the class planner, identify and assign roles, anticipate hang-ups and then train on how to present the information to our students in the best manner.  This is how we maximize the time we’re in front of your child.  It requires the right balance of structured activity, fun, and free time/practice.

Using this proved method is how we can promise such great benefits from the Transported After-School Karate Program at Sidekicks, we just care so much about your child’s success that we are constantly working to create the best learning environment around.

All of our instructors are background checked and must go through extensive training before they are certified as instructors and join the Sidekicks team.  It is our priority that each student leave everyday having been positively changed by their interaction with our staff.

How do I get my child involved in After-School at Sidekicks?

First, let’s review the benefits that you want for your child

  1. Increased Physical Fitness and get in shape – Our daily martial arts classes are very active and will get your child in shape and sometimes he won’t realize he’s exercising because it’s just so much fun!
  2. Achieve Academic heights you’ve never dreamed – Through the earning of colored belts, with the ultimate goal of black belt, we’ll teach your child how to approach any task with a plan in mind and the will to take action!
  3. Develop the kind of character other parents will envy – Our A+ Curriculum, which has a character lesson centered around the monthly theme, provides games, stories, and activities, all designed to reinforce those character traits that all parents wish their kids had.
  4. Protect him or herself mentally and physically from all kinds of danger – Because of our commitment to be the best at everything we attempt in life (we do try and set the best example we can for our students), we’ve adopted many of the best self-defense practices from martial arts all over the world to help your child (and adults too!) protect herself or himself at any range.  We incorporate the blocking, punching, kicking and hand strikes of traditional Taekwon-Do with the ground defense of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and submission wrestling and then because we want to be ready for any situation we also intersperse a Filipino martial art called Kali, which uses sticks to teach fundamentals of weaponry.  Because of the special nature of children we always take great care to emphasize that the martial arts is for self-defense only and how they should deal with bullies or would-be kidnappers.
  5. Make success and positive thinking a way of life! – Watch as your child trains and begins to excel at every other activity he or she does.  This is because our program is all about doing your best!  Through the learning of Focus and Discipline, your child will begin to accomplish goals and set new ones.  With consistent training these are strategies and habits that will last a lifetime.  Not to mention that their positive self-image will make him or her a happier person.

We realize that you’re a busy person.  You work to provide for your family and running to here and there can really cut into your busy day.  You’ll be relieved of this stress because our responsible drivers will pick up your child from school and take them to martial arts class.

Where else can you find an after school activity that offers your child so much while providing transportation as well? No other after school care program will prepare your child to be more successful at home, at school and out in the real world than the martial arts.  That’s because we are not a daycare!  It’s a high achieving, exciting, fun, leadership and character development program centered around the martial arts.

As a Special Bonus, on certain occasions students may be dismissed early from school. Also, teacher work days can force you to stay home.  Don’t worry! We’ll take care of it at no extra charge to you.

Enrolling your child in our unique Transported After School Martial Arts program is great for them and good for you too!  You’ll be surprised at the positive changes you see in your child. Improved grades, a more helpful attitude and increased athletic ability are only some of the benefits you’ll notice in your child.

An Easy Way to KickStart Your Success!

Now, I know what you’re thinking…sure this program has worked for many other people, but how will I know that this program will work for MY child?  Will learning to kick, block, and punch work for her?  Well, I’ve made it pretty easy to find out.

In fact, I’ve created a trial program that’s never been done before in the martial arts OR child care industry.  I’m going to let you test drive our full after-school program including pick-up from school for a full week for half off our open ended weekly rate (we have another program that’s actually an even bigger savings that we’ll tell you about when you come in the first time).  That’s a full week of after-school (martial arts everyday, exciting learning games, character development, homework time, reading time, and more!) plus their OFFICIAL uniform for only $47.50.  Plus…

FREE Student-Parent Conference: Before or during the first program we will meet one on one to discuss your child’s needs and your child’s progress. We will educate you regarding our program and help you understand the developmental process for your child. We will give you tips on how to reinforce your child’s development and share with you.  We will also show you our facility and even let you look at a sample day of our outstanding A+ Program.

All you have to do sign up below and one of our courteous team members will give you call to get your child started with his or her week in our amazing After-School program.

Don’t wait, space if filling up fast and there’s no risk to check us out!