First Punch Boxing for Kids

 

Check out the video below!  This summer pilot program for kids who may have any type of challenge is up and running. As I sit back and watch, it is like this program is meant to be. So many people are coming together to make it successful. It is a testament to when many people work together and bring their individual talents for the good of the group and for the good of others, amazing things can happen.

My Top 10 From First Punch, so far.

1.The smiles
2. The Laughter
3. The fierce look on a six year old’s face when hitting a punching bag
4. The intense focus of a shy 13 year old when hitting mitts in the boxing ring
5. The New Logo
6. Our T-Shirts
7. The Hugs
8. The sweat that makes me know the kids were challenged
9. The Support from the boxers’ parents
10. And most of all the cadence and chant when we all break it down at the end and together say 1,2,3…. First Punch

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Red Shoes

(This is a continuation of the post from 6/3/17 titled Meet Lorisa.)

They are Lorisa’s favorite– her red high top tennis shoes. You see them somewhere on almost every page of the book. When they are on her feet — always untied.
There is a the back story about red shoes. Lori’s oldest boy played little league baseball like many boys do when they are seven and eight years old, but you will not hear of his name in the MLB because it was soon discovered that his gift was numbers and baseball stats. He is a successful financial consultant today. Oh, but he did have a pair of coveted red baseball shoes that he passed down to my oldest boy two years younger. My oldest wore the flashy red shoes for one year of little league. He soon realized that baseball was not for him the day the coach had to yell out to him in the outfield “take the glove off your head!” Today he volunteers his attention and time to young kids through the Big Brother program who are also at times are being told “to take the glove off your head.”

Next, the red shoes were handed down to my middle child. They were actually a size too big and flopped on his feet the first year he wore them. However, the minute he put them on and a teammate said “cool,” it was like those shoes were magic. He wore them for the next two years until the rubber cleats were completely worn down. You will not find his name in the MLB either. He traded his passion for baseball for a career as a sales analyst. Lori and I share cherished stories of a little boy who looked up to his older brother and older family friend so much and insisted on wearing red shoes a size too big for him. He was even nicknamed “Red Shoes” for a few years.

So as you read the pages of NOT YET and see a cute little girl proudly wearing her high top tennis shoes, you now know the precious memories that Lori and I share of “red shoes.”

Why are Lorisa’s shoes always untied …… because “she’s not quite there yet. She’ll get there. You bet!”

NOT YET….. coming soon!

By:  Lisa Cox & Lori Hockema

 

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Meet Lorisa

Labrador Retriever + Poodle = Adorable Dog Called Labradoodle.

Lori + Lisa = Adorable Girl Called Lorisa.

Who is Lorisa? Lorisa is the main character of the book cowritten by my dear friend Lori and me. Lorisa is a labor of love created by a friendship that has stood the test of time. For me, Lorisa represents determination, faithfulness, loyalty, sacrifice, belief and love– all of the characteristics that I have witnessed in my cowriter over the years. Lorisa has the boldness and spunk that I see in Lori and the scattered idealism that I see in me.

We hope that Lorisa teaches children to believe in themselves and enjoy the process of growing up. Lorisa has what is called a growth mindset which basically means that she believes that her efforts matter. Her motto in the book– Am I there? Not Yet. I’ll get there. You bet!

Lorisa has taught me to believe that I have purpose and to enjoy the process of living. Lorisa has taught me to dream big, work hard, and not focus on my limitations.

We did not draw Lorisa. We worked with a fabulous illustrator who kept going back to the “drawing board” until Lorisa emerged as we envisioned her in our minds.

Who is Lori? If you had the privilege of having Mrs. Hockema as a teacher, you will never forget her. She most assuredly is on your list of favorites. As a classroom teacher, she was dynamic and passionate about her students and profession. She gave her all. She still does in all her endeavors.

Over the next couple of weeks I will slowly tell you more about Lorisa. It is going to be an incredible journey as we introduce her to you. How do I know this? — because the process of writing this book has already been incredible and fascinating.

Retired Teacher + Retired School Counselor = Two Friends with Many Stories to Tell

Adorable girl character + Adorable dog character =
Book Coming Soon Titled NOT YET

………Is it here? NOT YET
It will get here. You bet!

Coming soon!

NOT YET
Lisa Cox and Lori Hockema

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Ribbon of Tears

Ribbon of Tears

If each of our lives is a story, and I do believe each and every one of us has a story to tell, today’s page of my story would have tears staining the ink on the page. Today is a day I let go and trust. Today, I say good-bye to the idea of going back to the profession I love. Today, I turn in my letter of retirement much earlier than I ever anticipated. Today Parkinson’s knocks a little wind out of me.

By tomorrow, I will turn the page and look for new opportunities. Tomorrow, I will quit pouting and see all of the windows God is already opening as this door quietly closes in my life.

Actually, I won’t wait to turn the page of tomorrow. I will mentally put those boxing gloves on (physically put them on tomorrow) and hit back

I will do as the song Heather Richardson and I wrote…..

“dig deep, find strength, and trust. And throw that First Punch”

But……. first I will reflect on a line that Heather and I wrote in another song that I hope you all will be hearing her beautifully sing sometime soon…….

” Today is marked by a ribbon of tears to close the chapter of” my counseling years.

Good-bye —
ZCS

Hello —
New Chapter

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Why? First Punch for Kids with Challenges

The past seven years for me has been an incredible journey. I have been to a place that I never dreamed I would go. I have experienced a world right in front of me that struggles to fit in, keep up, and is often on the sidelines of life. My journey has been a spinal tumor, spinal cyst, and finally a Parkinson’s diagnosis through which I have discovered a whole new world of pain, struggle, fear, healing, acceptance, beauty, and joy. It is the world of the disabled or those with special needs.

From 2010 – 2015 I lived in that world as I watched and experienced my body succumb to the attacks of Parkinson’s. Slowly, my body began to stiffen and fail. I was losing my balance, my movement, my strength, and my smile. On July 28, 2015 I visited a doctor who prescribed for me a new medication. Miraculously, in one hour after being on that medication, I came back from my journey and the experience of being disabled. Although, I still have the same diagnosis, I am back to my almost fully functional self. There is no cure for Parkinson’s. I will most likely regress someday. I write this to you today because I sit here with the gift of my health back for an undetermined amount of time. Praise God.

For a while I have stepped out of the world of disability, but I cannot leave my friends behind. My friends are the little ones with challenges who I would see in the halls of the schools where I have worked for 24 years as a school counselor. I now have an amazing window into their world, our world in reality.

Our purpose for the First Punch Boxing for Kids with Challenges is to bridge that gap and bring strength and hope and to give kids the courage to step up and battle the challenges they face in their world.

I am a funny, fun, in love with life person. Parkinson’s tried to steal that from me. Parkinson’s lost. Hope won. The fear is gone. I want to share this hope with kids experiencing challenges in their lives.

I have so many people for whom I am thankful and so many more to whom I need to reach out and help.

Will you partner with us to fund this pilot program for the summer of 2017?

Let’s make it happen!

FIRST PUNCH – Noncontact Boxing for Kids with Challenges https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/147552517/first-punch-noncontact-boxing-for-kids-with-challe

Strong in Every Way

Zionsville Schools in Indiana are led by Dr. Scott Robison superintendent. He has launched a campaign in our community called “Strong in Every Way.” Why?

Before I knew this man, his very presence intimidated me. He was the one who made the tough decisions. The buck stopped with him. Then I had the privilege to get to know him in an unconventional way. In the winter of 2016, I nervously invited him to attend a kindness benefit concert sponsored by my elementary school. I discovered what most people do not know about him. Zionsville Schools’ superintendent is an extremely talented piano player and songwriter. He is very shy about this, and I promised to tell no one. Well, not only did I blab to everyone I know, I coerced him into performing at that concert. He performed a song that he had written for his students years ago as a young classroom teacher. Here I go again telling about his hidden talent. More than the musical talent, I learned under the exterior of leadership that takes hits every day and has to make the difficult, sometimes unpopular decisions, is a man who loves kids. He is a champion for the underdog, and I believe that this is the heart of where the Strong in Every Way initiative was born. I believe that his heart breaks when he hears about any tragedy that involves the youth of our community.

Is “Strong in Every Way” too lofty of a goal? Yes, it is for one person. No one person can be strong in every way. However, if we come together as a community, like pieces of a puzzle, we can fill in the gaps for each other in our time of need.

What I think he is asking us to do right now is to open our eyes. Start looking around us. Be aware of our own strengths and start noticing where we can reach out help those around us.

Strong in Every Way? No, not for one single person, but for a community that cares, yes!

After raising three boys in Zionsville, I can tell you that the support my sons received from teachers, administrators, counselors, coaches, volunteers, neighbors, grandparents, business owners, friends, etc. was priceless.

It is possible for us to come together and be “Strong in Every Way.”
Thanks, Dr. Robison, for taking a chance, starting an initiative, and challenging us all.
……and, Dr. Robison, I’m sorry I broke the promise again and shared with just a few more people about your songwriting talent.

The Power of Words

“Teacher, with all due respect, please take a minute to read my school history file. While you are doing that, I’ll be going home.” It was the defining moment of his life. It was the answer given to the most cruel of questions. A question that could have crushed so many. But for Bob Viera, it was the question that literally put the wind in his sails for the rest of his life, a life of hard work and determination. Bob Viera is one of the most fascinating people I have ever met. You will read his full story someday. A story that must be told of a true overcomer.

My parents met this couple, Bob and Cindy who live in the same condominium complex, while walking Mia. Mia is the Shitzu-Bishon dog that I insisted that they rescue a few years ago — a dog that my sister and I are sure has nudged us out of our inheritance someday.

Somehow this daily walk at 4:00 pm has become what is known as “Mia Hour” where my dad stops mid-walk and gathers with many friends on Bob and Cindy’s lanai. I think it is just an excuse for a happy hour of fellowship and fun because it must be 5:00 pm somewhere, right?

That is where I started hearing Bob’s countless stories of the life of a Nantucket fisherman, on the day I was invited to “Mia Hour.” The story that intrigued me the most is the one that breaks my heart as an educator.

Bob’s early years as a child were spent battling severe asthma and allergies. With only having a third of the lung capacity of a typical child, this debilitating illness caused him to fall two years behind his peers in school. At the beginning of his eighth grade year of school, Bob’s family moved off of the Nantucket Island to a bigger city. It was there in the first few days of class where his new teacher asked the question still sears in his mind today. “Bob, will you come stand a in front of the class and tell them why you are 16 and still in the eighth grade?” That was the last day that Bob ever attended school. For the next 22 years of his life he lived on fishing boats. His education was gained not through text books, but through living life and making wise choices that bring him to where he is today. Ironically, that is to a small crowded lanai full of retired educators– former teachers and administrators gathering for “Mia
Hour.”

I asked Bob if he had finished high school how his life might be different. He couldn’t answer that because the life he lived is the only one he knows. I say he lived it brilliantly, but I can tell there is a scar left from the cruel words of one person so long ago.

This made me ask myself, “Do the words that come out of my mouth uplift and encourage or tear down and leave wounds?” Bob’s story had me thinking of the power of words. “Sticks and stones will break your bones,”  but words….. words can scar you for life. I don’t know how Bob Viera had the fortitude to survive that hurtful question without bitterness? That is a whole other chapter for his book someday.

Bob Viera, as a former teacher and current school counselor, I apologize for what happened to you that day so many years ago. You are my hero!

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