Martial Arts for Peace is a program which emphasizes peaceful conflict resolution, mental self-defense, and the artful expression of physical martial arts training. Martial Arts for Peace teaches children to express the physical aspect of their emotions in healthy ways and to exercise their emotions in a controlled environment. The emphasis on teamwork and cooperative learning through playful physical activities will improve students’ social skills, social adjustment, and self-esteem. Children in this program will receive the following: physical martial arts training, mental martial arts training, reading, mathematics, nutrition, science, and recreation. Staffing this program will be black belt instructors, martial arts assistants, certified teachers, mental health behavior specialists, and masters level therapists. Children will receive a gi to wear while receiving their martial arts instruction and throughout the year will be able to achieve higher belt attainment. There will be no physical contact taught in this training. Children (and hopefully parents!) will be reading daily about peaceful conflict resolution, self-respect, and respect for others. There will be games and role-plays that further drive home the point that aggression is inappropriate in most situations.

Violence Prevention and Character Development through Martial Arts for Peace

The Peaceful Champions program is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm during the summer, and 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm during the school year. The program has been designed to serve SED, EH, and At-Risk youth ages 5 through 13 and is also available for children participating in the School Board’s Extended School Year (ESY) program.

Thanks to the Children’s Services Council’s funding, we have three Broward County sites:  one in the north of the county located at Cypress Run Education Center, one located centrally at the agency’s main location in Plantation, and one located in the southern part of the county at Whispering Pines Education Center.

For children meeting financial eligibility, the cost of the program is free thanks to a grant by the Children’s Services Council of Broward County. There is a sliding fee scale for children who do not meet this eligibility.

If you have interest in the program, please contact Smith Community Mental Health. We can be reached at (954) 321-2296 ext. 216 (Liat Kazes). Call to pre-register and an assessment will be scheduled as soon as possible.

If you require Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations to participate in this service, please notify Michael Houghtaling at or 954-321-2296 ext. 219 within at least seven (7) days of service delivery.

This program is funded by:


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