Chandler gets a kick out of helping area youth
Karate For Kids continues to make a positive impact on community
FITCHBURG — Ethan Chandler refuses to stop helping kids in the community.
Chandler, a senior at Fitchburg High School, is the president and founder of Karate For Kids — a United Way Youth Venture program at the high school that provides at-risk youth with experiences they need to become future leaders in their community.
This venture, which officially launched in February of 2017, has become a familiar brand name in the community since it focuses on at-risk youth that may not be able to afford a karate experience, which provides so many valuable life lessons like determination, dedication, self-restraint, discipline, confidence and being physically active.
“I hope that all kids that are in the Karate For Kids program build the characteristics they need to be the future leaders we so desperately need in our community,” said Chandler. “I also hope each one of them can earn a black belt.
“Giving back to the community is also something I have loved to do. It is so important to me to be able to impact youth lives every single day. Kids are the future of our community, and I believe they deserve the most attention in our community.”
Currently, Karate For Kids is running its third annual prize calendar for the month of November to help children in need. The calendar costs $5 and you have 30 chances to win gift certificates to many businesses in the area. The money raised for the prize calendars not only have helped Karate For Kids award scholarships to Fitchburg youth, but it has also allowed it to put together a holiday food/gift basket to every school in the district last year. Karate For Kids also awarded a 2019 Fitchburg High senior a $150 college scholarship for the very first time.
The lofty goal this year, says Chandler, is to sell over 250 calendars.
Checks can be made out to Karate for Kids and sent to: 176 Hurd Street, Fitchburg, or
Venmo: ethan-chandler-13, Paypal: paypal.me/karateforkids2017 or email Chandler at .
“Ethan is a great example of a changemaker -- someone who already is having a positive impact on other students’ lives,” said Fitchburg Public Schools Superintendent Robert Jokela.
Chandler continues to maintain the hope and expectations that Karate For Kids will impact today’s youth, not only when they are at the karate studio, but when they are at school and home, too.
The kids are the reason why Chandler consistently pushes this youth venture forward, while taking on three AP classes, playing varsity golf and working two jobs.
“The amount of pride I have for Karate For Kids is indescribable,” Chandler said. “The reason I continue to run Karate For Kids is 100 percent because of the kids. I see the difference it has made in their life and it couldn’t make me any happier. I do juggle this with other things, but it is worth it to see what impact I have on a kid’s life on a daily basis.”
Karate For Kids hit the ground running in the early stages of the venture, bursting onto the scene when it awarded the program’s first scholarship to former Reingold Elementary School student, Me’Yah Newton, who is now a sixth-grader at Longsjo Middle School. That first scholarship was worth $600 and provided six months of karate training at Family Martial Arts Center.
Since its inception, Karate For Kids has raised money during a Movie Night, raffles, 5K walk/run and most recently the first Karate For Kids Golf Tournament in May at Westminster Country Club.
“The golf tournament raised us about $3,000,” Chandler said. “This money was acquired by not only golf participants but also donations.”
Chandler admits that Karate For Kids has “taken off more than I ever imagined.”
He added: “I personally thought that I would raise a couple hundred dollars and I would be happy with that. I never would have thought I would be raising over $6,000 and scholarshipping 2 kids to karate.”
Chandler has many people to thank for the success of his venture.
“The big reason I have gotten this far is because of the community that surrounds me,” he said. “There have been so many people that have helped me get to this point -- Martin Silva and Debra Roberts for helping me think of the idea and getting it off the ground and Jake Vanhillo, Tamarah Estes and Albert Mercado. Also, of course, my parents.”
Chandler’s vision for Karate For Kids continues to grow.
“First starting out, we limited ourselves to just karate scholarships,” Chandler said. “However, we have decided to expand our program and provide kids with all types of experiences, specifically sports-related such as baseball, basketball, football and soccer.”
Chandler is all about helping kids in his community.
(Written by Chad Garner -- the Fitchburg Public Schools' Communication Coordinator)