Feet First Foundation Expands To Santa Clara County, Aims To Be In School In All Of California In Future.
The premiere and industry-leading organization that is the cutting edge program, known as the Feet First Foundation has developed a program in the public school system using boxing as the catalyst for growth in the development of young people has big news! The Feet First Foundation has now expanded to Santa Clara County.
“We recently have gone into the schools in the San Jose, California area to work with kids that are being referred to the Wellness Center,” stated co-founder Dan Dorsett of the Feet First Foundation. “[the] Wellness Center has asked for our trainers to come in and work with the kids to help improve their emotions, their outlook, overall behavior, but more importantly, just to keep them in school and get them back into class and see what’s after class. Right now, we’re working with a few high schools, and elementary and middle schools, and we’re getting great results. The program itself has been supported by the county of Santa Clara.”
The benefit of the program is direction. Many students drawn to boxing could be restricted in many ways in life – they could be tempted by drugs and alcohol, they could be influenced into being around an unhelpful peer group, or they could even be very sad and want to harm themselves. The sport of boxing forces one to reflect upon themselves, and in reflection, many if not all – tend to find a new and often more positive direction in life. How many world champions were forged out of adversity and early wrongdoing or bad decisions, only to have boxing and supportive individuals help guide them to a new direction in life? The answer is – more than likely countless. Boxing is the sport of the underdog, the Cinderella story, hence a movie being made called “Cinderella Man”, the Feet First Foundation is going in at the grassroots level and finding young people who need someone to listen and be supportive when they’re the most vulnerable and impressionable.
“When we start our program it is similar to a boxing class with a warm-up and step-by-step training following textbook instruction,” said Dorsett about the process. “What that means is we start with the footwork and we work with arm drills – things an actual boxer would do. We have them work on the fundamentals of the jab, a power punch, and the hook, as well as all of the things a professional boxing trainer would teach you. Our program director and co-founder Sean Sharkey is the one who created the physical fitness curriculum part of it, and then we have Amy Berner who is a licensed social clinical worker therapist who actually put together a curriculum that outlines a variety of emotional building skills. One week we might talk about adversity and what we had to do if things get rough. The program most importantly is more about building empowerment in the individual. We empower the students to feel better about themselves, and we’re grateful for the state of California recognizing the work we’re doing.”
For those who are unaware, the Feet First Foundation is the brainchild of Dan Dorsett and Sean Sharkey, which allows students to earn credits during school hours while learning about their mind, body, and soul through the art of textbook boxing. It is a level of empowerment never before seen at this level in either boxing or the classroom setting.
“The schools that we’re now working with are in San Jose, or should I say South San Jose,” said Dorsett about the recent news of the organization he spearheads. “We first started at Oak Grove High School and then moved over to Andrew Hill High School, and the most recent one we have been at is the Lairon College Preparatory Academy. The students that we have been servicing range from fourth grade, all the way to twelfth grade.”
Even more heroic is the program wasn’t built to create the next world champion, but rather the next George Washington. By that, the Feet First Foundation is trying to create leaders and those with leadership capacity as the program models and instills confidence in those involved. The program’s model has seen many who leave the program want to carry on the tradition moving forward either advocating for the program or even helping with the program. Though it would be nice to see a nice shiny belt adore a recreation center, it would make Dorsett and Sean Sharkey more proud to see future, lawyers, teachers, nurses, and doctors visit the program in ten-or-twenty years to speak to the benefit it had on them as a child.
“In fact, some of the students that we’re working with have expressed interest to be a trainer for us after they graduate,” said Dorsett proudly. “So not only are we taking these kids that are not sure what direction in life, but they are given the newfound confidence to want to be part of the future of feet first and help other kids. I think it’s a huge success that we’re doing in San Jose, and it’s just a pilot to show other cities what we can do for their families and kids, that are in need of services like ours.”
With tremendous success already, the Feet First team now looks to get their program in front of as many young people as possible with San Jose, California, and their neighboring cities being the next step. The goal is simple – bring the highest quality program to as many individuals as possible.
“I think we have found a great formula,” said Sean Sharkey. “The program helps so many different people through the sport of boxing.”
For more information, about the Feet First Foundation you can visit their website at FeetFirstNP.org, or you can call them at 833-339-9111.