Chimo Taekwondo Club receives ISANS award for work with newcomers

Thanks to all who attended our Annual & Special Meeting yesterday. We want to congratulate Chimo Taekwondo who received the ISANS Award this year!

The ISANS Award recognizes an individual, community group, business or employer who has demonstrated exceptional and innovative efforts in welcoming immigrants to Nova Scotia and in assisting them to successfully integrate into the community.  

Chimo Taekwondo Club has been providing martial arts training to the families of Spryfield and surrounding communities for more than 14 years. Over the past year, Chimo has welcomed more than 60 Syrian children into their club, at least 40 of whom have become regular members, attending classes 2-3 times a week. The art of being welcoming and inclusive has always been part of Chimo’s DNA so it’s no surprise that they have been so successful at retaining these new members. When asked to reflect on the impact that has been made, Master Doug Large said: “I cannot think of a single group, or event to be more proud of, than opening the club to these kids and their families. I’m immensely proud of our students and their families for accepting and welcoming the newcomers to Chimo. I’m incredibly pleased that the newcomers have embraced the club and am thankful that they have agreed to be a part of our family.”

Being a part of the Chimo family has benefitted newcomers in many ways, including, but not limited to: fostering a sense of belonging and community, providing the opportunity to practice English and make new friends, improved mental and physical health and even some success on the podium at competitions. “When first they walked into the club they were fearful, nervous, uncertain and obviously feeling like strangers in a strange land. The club and the training has had an electrifying effect on them and we see normal, healthy, excited, engaged and happy kids arrive every day.” Perhaps most importantly, Chimo acknowledges the positive changes that have occurred on both sides: “The effect on the club itself and our “old timers” has been equally transformational. We were a small club and happy with that. The influx of newcomers has challenged the way we teach, the way lessons are structured, the way our advanced belts interact with new kids where no common language exists and all this for the betterment of us all.”