June 18, 2014

Dear Mr. Scornavacco,

We are excited about our new move to Utah, but are saddened that my son will no longer be able to attend Scornavacco Martial Arts Academy (SMAA). Before my son was old enough to be a Little Dragon, I witnessed how your program helped our neighbor to develop self-respect and discipline. I knew that once my son was four, we would enroll him to help him develop focus, and we did.

For the past year, my son has been attending twice a week. During this time my son’s prosocial skills increased tremendously. He consistently utilizes the seven magic words: “Yes m’am, No m’am, Yes sir, No sir, Please, Thank you, and Excuse me.” His focus has grown instrumentally. For example, he has the ability to sit and focus on tasks that prior he would have become frustrated and walked away. Each of your instructors is knowledgeable and dedicated to my son. The numerous encouraging postcards and talks with my son inspire him to be a better little kid and student. It is clear that they embody SMAA’s philosophy.

But what I enjoy most your program is that it is a program. The monthly homework that covers a different topic (e.g., Integrity, Patience, Self-Reliance, and Sportsmanship) not only introduces my son to concepts that promote prosocial interactions with other students, friends, and classmates, inside and outside the dojo, but also encourages me to be a better role model for my son and the community. However, one of the unintended consequences is that now my son holds me accountable when I lose my patience or when I get mad after losing a close game of dominoes. I know that you and your academy have set the foundation of solid skills that will carry with him for the rest of his life.

I also want to thank you for your dedication to our community. I appreciate the Easter egg hunts, the nights out, the movies, the pro bono work in schools, and overall commitment to raising the quality of Longmont and Boulder County.

I am especially grateful that you and Michelle came to my Violence against Women & Girls class at the University of Colorado at Boulder and gave a free self-defense seminar with practical applications. The students found your presentation extremely useful and indicated that in that short time, they took away real life skills that they can use in everyday situations. Many of them expressed that they wish they had taken a class from you when they were first years and not seniors.

Ultimately, thank you for all that you have done for our family and the community. We are fortunate to have found you and your academy, and you truly are an asset to this community. We can only hope that there is a martial arts program that offers half of what you do in our new location.

Much respect and gratitude,

Jennifer J. Roark, MSW, Ph.D.