Pray for Our Friend Ian

You may remember that a few months ago we mentioned our friend Ian Matuszak. Ian is a jiu jitsu fighter with cerebral palsy and an all around good guy. He is also battling cancer. Ian needs our prayers right now. Please take some time to pray for his recovery and for his family. He has been in and out of the hospital battling infections and most recently fluid around his heart. He has been through so much and is due for a streak of good luck.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Ian!

What a Difference a Day Makes!

Last week we welcomed two new students to UPMA. This is always exciting and sometimes a bit challenging as well. Sometimes the newness is just too much for a student with disabilities. It is easy for them to get overwhelmed and for them to want to retreat inward.

That is exactly what happened to Raymond. He came to class with his parents and was so overwhelmed, that he refused to even get on the mat. This is where the never give up attitude of the coaches at UPMA really makes a difference. Throughout the course of class both Coach Kristen and Coach Sam took turns spending one on one time with Raymond. It started with just getting him to move closer to the mat. Eventually we were able to get him to punch the focus mitts and block when a soft ball was tossed towards him. With each new task we could see his interest peaking. It took the entire hour, but by the end of class, Raymond had stepped on the mat. A small victory, but a victory none the less.

What a delight it was to see Raymond arrive in class this week. He came running down the walkway with a huge smile on his face. He took his shoes off, bowed, came on the mat and never looked back. Not only did he smile the WHOLE TIME, he listened to instruction and watched as his fellow classmates took their turns. What a blessing to be able to take a student that probably would have been turned away elsewhere and to give him the simple gift of recreation that most people take for granted. We look forward to seeing Raymond grow over the coming months.

Reaching Out to Serve the Special Needs Community

Part of this year’s commitment to expanding the number of students with special needs that we can serve is to partner with other communities. For example, the cities of Cypress and Buena Park often work together to promote one another’s classes. Last week we reached out to the city of Cypress to see if they would cosponsor our class in Buena Park. The two cities are close in proximity and as stated above, often work together. We were a bit disappointed to find out that Cypress will not be cosponsoring us at this time. They are unsure whether or not their current Karate instructor will be leaving and are hopeful that a new instructor will offer an adaptive class as well. We wish them luck in their search for a new instructor and hope that they will be able to offer a special needs class whether or not it is provided by Unlimited Possibilities.
The next community we plan to reach out to is the city of Cerritos. We have been informed that Cerritos excels in the number of programs it offers to those with special needs. Currently, they do not have have a martial arts program, so hopefully we will be able to fill this need.
Be sure to watch for our next blog as it will help you understand a little better what exactly we are teaching. And no, it’s not Karate.

Happy Thanksgiving

We here at UPMA would like to wish everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.
The challenges of living with (or having a loved one with) a disability can make it hard to focus on the positive sometimes. Use this day to take some time to find those positive things, however small they may seem, and give thanks.
We are thankful for the ability to serve those who are in need and to create opportunities were there were once none. Enjoy your loved ones this week and we will see you back on the mats next week!

Last Day to Help Autism Speaks with a T-shirt

Today is the last day to help Autism Speaks raise money and get an awesome T-shirt. Order your T-shirt today from Sevenly and they will donate $7 to Autism Speaks. This money goes directly to providing therapy to children with Autism. Therapy, especially at an early age, has been proven to help kids with Autism overcome some of the challenges that they face. Please use the following link to get yours today.
Don’t forget to help team UPMA raise money for Walk Now for Autism Speaks. You can donate directly to Autism Speaks or to our team account. The walk will be December 7th at Anaheim Stadium.