Martial arts instructor ‘barely breaks even’ to help at-risk kids

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CAPE CORAL – The “Kontrol Room” is a martial arts studio that teaches kids the sport along with the importance of respecting others.

The influential program faces closure, however, if they don’t get more kids enrolled.

“We learn self-respect and how to treat other people too,” said Chloe Jackson, a student in the summer program.

Jack Harrah runs the Kontrol Room. He says he knows the program works because, as a kid, he went through it.

“When you’re supposed to be turning in to a young adult, I was still mouthy,” he told WINK News.

The Police Athletic League and Youth Crime Intervention programs were meant to keep kids out of trouble. When the programs folded in 2012 because of budget cuts,  Harrah couldn’t let that happen.

“I’ve invested 7,864 hours in volunteering so I wasn’t about to see it not succeed,” said Harrah.

He decided to continue the programs, but with his own money. He still offers the same nonprofit prices for the families, and he teaches the kids martial arts and more. The class is a privilege; the kids need good grades and a good attitude to participate.

“The child will leave and the principal will go, ‘I have never seen him so respectful in my life,'” Harrah said, “and then they never have a problem anymore.”

He is confident what he’s doing is changing lives. Harrah hopes more families know the program is available so he can keep it going.

For more information on the Kontrol Room,  click here.

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