The Brightside: Local teens earn Presidents Volunteer Service Award
MILFORD, Del. – In Milford, two teens are volunteering their time to help teach people strength, discipline and respect.
14-year-old Katie Clarkson and 17-year-old Jacob Callazo have been practicing karate at Tang Soo Do Academy in Milford since they were kids.
Callazo said, “I’ve been doing it since I was about 11 or 12.”
Clarkson said, “It was like right after my sixth birthday I think.”
Katie was inspired to start karate because of her dad.
Clarkson said, “Six year old me, I was just like, ‘That’s so cool! I want to do it, dad does it, so I want to see if I can.'”
Katie’s dad actually owns the Academy where she and Jacob practice and teach.
“My dad owns the school so it was kind of just a given that I wanted to do it because he did it and I looked up to him,” she said.
Jacob started when he began getting into some trouble with other kids at school.
“I was a pretty angry kid. I was rough,” he said.
Jacob says this academy changed him for the better.
“This changed me here…knowing the importance of why we fight and why we defend ourselves,” he said.
Jacob and Katie take several classes a week at the Academy.
Clarkson said, “Now I’m going four days a week.”
Callazo said, “Usually I come to about three classes a week. If I can come off church, I do four.”
Several times a week though, these two also selflessly volunteer their time to teach kids the basics of karate, or to teach adults the basics of self defense.
Clarkson said, “I just want to help people feel safe in the community.”
By volunteering their time and helping teach people self defense, Katie and Jacob are giving people in the community a sense of empowerment and strength.
Callazo said, “The impact it has on the community and knowing you can empower people in that way, driving people to be a better person, looking back on who you were yesterday and making yourself better every day and growing, that’s a big thing.”
Katie and Jacob’s hard work isn’t going unnoticed. These two actually earned a Presidential Award for their hard work and dedication to their community… but they say to them, this really doesn’t feel like work.
Clarkson said, “I feel like I’m just kind of helping with the class. It doesn’t feel like I’m volunteering or like I’m doing some big thing. It just kind of feels like I’m doing what I like to do.”
Callazo said, “Volunteering here, doing this kind of thing… it doesn’t feel like work.”
The award the two earned is called the Presidents Volunteer Service Gold Award.
This award “honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities in every corner of the nation and inspires those around them to take action, too.”
Jacob had to complete over 250 hours for his age group to earn the gold level award. He currently has completed about 300 hours.
Katie had to complete over 100 hours for her age group she’s current completed about 150 hours and this is the 2nd time Katie has earned this award.