Bridgeport martial arts program lacks funding

A program that helps to keep Bridgeport kids in school and off the streets is at risk of shutting down due to a lack of funding.

Teachers and police teamed up to create the Bridgeport Police Youth Martial Arts initiative. The program was started by Bridgeport Police Chief Bryan Norwood back in March. At the time, more than 100 middle school students applied to be in the class.

Local police and teachers handpicked students who were on the verge of failing out of school, joining a gang or even dealing drugs.

Under the direction of Master Lee, all 38 kids spend at least two hours a day, five days a week, learning martial art moves as well as discipline. They are even required to do homework and chores in class.

Teachers and parents said there has been a noticeable change in their children?s grades and behavior since the course started.

Everything thus far has been donated to the program, and even the instructor is a volunteer. However, those that run the program say it is not enough to keep the class going.

Norwood has secured several grants, but without additional funds to pay for more uniforms, equipment and testing, the class runs the risk of shutting down.

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