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SDIA M.A.T. Kids Program Officially Launched

Part of SDIA’s continued “Helping is Healing” program is our new MAT Kids Program. As many of our nations veterans return home from overseas, they are unsure as to what the future holds for them as they leave the military. The majority of these men and women are highly trained and motivated leaders. They often will accept the role of a leader and will be successful at it if given the chance. Surveys have shown that 80% of veterans want to continue to serve after taking off their uniform. As can be expected, many veterans continue serving their country in a law enforcement or fire rescue capacity.

All too often, veterans returning home from deployments miss that sense of purpose, self-worth, and esprit-de-corps that came with being assigned to a military unit. SDIA can assist in filling that void for many veterans. One way we can do this is through one of our newer programs dubbed “M.A.T.” Kids. MAT stands for Martial Arts Training, or can simply reflect the training that’s taking place on mats.

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M.A.T. Kids Logo

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With Sheep Dog IA members as the mentors for kids and young adults, and through martial arts, we can teach them self-worth, confidence, and respect for others. MAT Kids is an opportunity for individual success. MAT Kids will focus on addressing several problems troubling our school systems today. Bullying, for one, is a major concern and a priority for us to address. Health and fitness is our second priority, supported by our “Fitness to Survive” program. Obesity is a major concern with young people today, the need to eat the right types of food along with physical activity. Through this process, our MAT kids program achieves two goals, 1) the veteran has a sense of purpose, a means for giving back to their community, a chance to recover from a physical or emotional injury…“Helping is Healing” and 2) young people within our community will be exposed to positive role models. Leaders and mentors that will assist with molding young people into productive members of society, or perhaps one day, into future leaders, future Sheep Dogs.

MAT Kids puts a Sheep Dog member, with military, law enforcement, fire rescue, and/or EMS training, in the halls of a particular school. This gives the school an extra set of eyes that have been trained to observe and recognize abnormal behavior. Our member becomes a new and contributing member of that school. Side effects of this program for the student are the improvement of grades and behavior. MAT Kids is a free program for the school, funded by SDIA and its sponsors.

Sheep Dog IA does a thorough background check of its members via an independent civilian agency. Ensuring that we fill our ranks with the highest quality Sheep Dogs from within our communities. We have seven chapters nationally, with 10 to 50 members per SDIA chapter. Several SDIA chapters are currently being evaluated for participation, with membership growing rapidly across the country. Sheep Dog IA is two years old and is rapidly making a positive difference in every community we touch.

Our nation’s young people are tomorrow’s leaders, its Sheep Dogs, our future. Our young people need positive role models, not “idols”. Bullying, gangs, and drug problems are growing every day. Unless we confront these problems head-on we could see a further decline in our school systems and in our communities as a whole. Our veteran Sheep Dogs need a continued purpose, our young people need positive role models, MAT Kids is a program that can and will assist in giving both a renewed sense of confidence.

Let us know if you have questions or concerns. Thank you for your support.

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