They've taken the kickin' challenge to see beyond.

"It challenges them to see beyond themselves, that people are suffering and we need to do all that we can to help others," said Shawn Yennie of Yennie Martial Arts. "It is also a challenge to use their personal time to go out and get donations. We are all busy, but making the extra effort goes a long ways."

Yennie was referring to the Kickin' for Cancer kick-a-thon, a fundraiser for the Booker Mini Foundation and The Cancer Center of America. Yennie's tae kwon do students are collecting pledges and then kicking once for each dollar donated during a kick-a-thon held at the Yennie Martial Arts studio on Dec. 7 in Chatfield.

Yennie, who also studios in Spring Valley and Plainview, elaborated, "Our students have been raising money to donate to other organizations to help with the battle against cancer. This year, we chose the Booker Mini Foundation and The Cancer Center of America as our two organizations, and both the organizations that we chose help the families affected by cancer. Doctor's bills, prescriptions, and other costs for treatment take away money from the family income. This helps them cover the costs, so we are focusing more on the families affected."

He added that students had collected pledges up until Nov. 14 for the kick-a-thon, which is on Dec. 7 at the Chatfield location at 2 p.m.

Approximately 100 students from four schools are participating in the event.

"We have ages 5 to adults participating. Some are working as families, and others, as individuals," Yennie added. "The most exciting part about this is seeing our students get so involved with it. They are excited every year. We have one student who has already raised over $500 and he's not done yet."

The competition of who can raise the most money is always fun and Yennie said the kick-a-thon is a great way for all of the schools to come together and have lots of fun.

"We also follow every kick-a-thon with a pizza party and movie night for students and their families," he added. "Our students are very hard workers. They have gone through a lot of changes this year and have taken each of those challenges head on. It has been wonderful working with all of them. They show such good character by helping us raise money to donate."

Yennie wants everyone to know how much the support the students have received has meant to them and to the tae kwon doe schools.

"Cancer has affected all of us in some way, shape or form. Our students are doing this because they care about our communities and want to give back in some way," he continued. "We just lost two very special women in our lives to cancer this year - our aunt, Valerie Wendt, and family friend, Mary Druga. Both were in their 50s and they were both the most selfless women we knew. We miss them so much and feel their loss. This year our Kickin' for Cancer is in memory of them."

The public can support Kickin' for Cancer by donating to the cause and encouraging the students.

"They are welcome to come to our Chatfield studio and watch the kick-a-thon from 2 p.m. until they have completed their kicks. It may be a little cramped, but the more, the merrier," Yennie said. "We will also have a donation bucket set up that day at the studio for anyone wanting to donate."

Funds garnered from the collection were presented to the Booker Mini Foundation during its annual live and silent auction and concert event at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester on Nov. 23.

The Cancer Center of America's presentation will be shortly after the kick-a-thon.

Yennie reiterated his invitation to the citizens of Chatfield, Spring Valley and the surrounding area to help make a difference in cancer research funding.

"We would like to thank the families of our students for showing their support and helping our students to meet their goals," he concluded.