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Community Service

Facility Photo - BLS Art - Tree - 1

In joining the Balanced Life Skills community, there is a sincere hope that you or your child will become empowered to use what you learn with us to make a difference in your community.  Balanced Life Skills works to build awareness of the community’s needs, and provides opportunities make a difference.  This page includes some of the projects in which Balanced Life Skills has been involved.  New projects are forming everyday as Balanced Life Skills students see needs in their communities and create ways to help.



A grant program which offers grants for teachers to implement creative projects in the classroom

Grants 4 Teachers, A program run by the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County, seeks to encourage the creativity of Teachers. For the last 3 years our goal has been to provide teachers in the Anne Arundel County Public School System with the tools they need in their classrooms to create the best learning experience possible for our students. We believe that the dedication of our teachers should not require them to take money out of their own pockets. Because we value teachers’ service and dedication, we would like to demonstrate our support for their profession – one of the most important careers in our community. The purpose of this grant program is to fund highly creative ideas that otherwise would be impossible to implement in the classroom. We want to help fund teachers’ creative ideas to stimulate our students’ learning. Grants will be awarded from a minimum of $100 to a maximum of $500. There are two grant cycles during the school year.

To DONATE to the Program:

Click to make a donation to the Grants4Teachers fund

To APPLY for this Grant:

Grants4Teachers: Grant Application



Support for the Johns Hopkins Hospital in giving “Prizes” to children recovering from surgery

Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore is in need of donations for their “Prize Project”! Child Life Specialist, Lauren Swope, and Pediatric Nurse, Stacy Canuel (who is also the mom of one of our students at BLS), have let us know that during their stay at the hospital, children who have undergone surgery pick small prizes from a box.  This “Prize Project” is an easy way to help children at the hospital to feel more comfortable, and thereby to aid them in their recovery process.

 However, funding from within the hospital for this project has been cut, and dedicated doctors, nurses, and staff working at the hospital are looking elsewhere for support for the project. We are thrilled to do our best as a community to provide support for this effort. If you would like to make a prize donation for the project, you are more than welcome to do so at Balanced Life Skills.  We will have marked boxes at the studio where you and/or your student can drop off the item(s).  See the guidelines and suggestions below for more details:

Some guidelines to consider when donating to The Prize Project:

  • No edible items or items which can expire
  • Prizes should be no more than $5.00 cash value
  • Prizes should be small enough in size to fit inside a box the size of a shoe box
  • Prize donations may be new or gently used



Balanced Life Skills strives to be an active participant in the charitable work of the Southern Anne Arundel County Rotary Club.  One program in which Balanced Life Skills is participating is Bountiful Backpacks. This program supports 80 children and their families by providing them with enough food to last the weekend. This effort is not sporadic or temporary, but occurs every weekend.

Balanced Life Skills will be participating in the Rotary Club’s fundraiser for this event – a “Duck Race” called Quacks for Packs on May 19,2013. The race will be held at Camp Letts, and will be a family-affair.  Games, prizes, and fun for all ages is planned.

  More information on the Quacks for Packs event can be found on the Rotary Club’s website

You can sponsor a racing duck for $10 or simply provide a direct donation by following this link

Ultimate Black Belt Test Community Service: Alabama

Greensboro, AL — On April 7, 2011 between 50 and 100 martial arts master teachers and their students will arrive in the small southern town of Greensboro, Alabama, put on their work boots and gloves, and begin building a home for an elderly woman in need. They are in Greensboro because Martin Luther King traveled through there just weeks before his death. They are there because teacher-architect Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee co-founded the famous Rural Studio in nearby Newbern. They are there because of the classic book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men; because James Agee wrote about the people of Hale County and because Walker Evans carried his camera down Greensboro’s Main Street.

 Joe Van Deuren 2009 Alabama Project

They are there because community activist Pam Dorr lives there and heads The Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Organization (HERO). They arrive in Greensboro because of John Bielenberg and his Project M, a Greensboro based team of young artists and creatives who live by the slogan “Think Wrong.” This group of karate, kung fu, aikido, taekwondo, and jiu-jitsu teachers from New Jersey, Hawaii, California, Maine, and so many other more “tourist” or “convention” friendly places, come to Alabama to learn about a kind of martial arts mastery that project founder Tom Callos says is more relevant to teaching self-defense in today’s world that any kick, punch, block, or parry.

“Mastery, genuine mastery, is not found in the physical practice of the martial arts,” states Callos, a 6th degree black belt, “It is found in the way the practitioner uses, in the world, what he or she practices on the mat. To be a Master is to transcend the boundaries and borders of your subject and weave your work into the fabric of your community. This is what Mockbee did, what we experience when we read Agee, when we see the faces and places Evans captured in his photography, and what we hear when we listen to Reverend King today, 43 years after his death. These black belts are here to practice a kind of martial arts that transcends the dojo.”

For the last 7 years, Callos and his team, participants in The Ultimate Black Belt Test, have raised the funds for building materials, then provided the labor to build a number of projects in Greensboro. Two years ago they helped restore a Rosenwald School. The year before that they built a small house for a man who’s dwelling was becoming uninhabitable. While in Town the martial arts teachers have also toured local schools giving demonstrations, tutored local students in math and English, offered classes in diabetes education, anger management, and given self-defense classes to local women.

The team is working to raise $25,000 this year to build a home and help complete a number of small repairs needed by local Greensboro residents. Donations may be given on-line at

“People always ask me what architecture, photography, building houses, and Martin Luther King have to do with the martial arts,” says Callos. “I tell them, everything. As a Master Teacher my life is my dojo –and everything is I do is a reflection on what I have learned and who I am as a person. This is the ultimate self-defense.”



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