Seven years ago when the MacKinnon family made a group decision to change Tae Kwon Do clubs, they had hoped it was the right move. Michelle watched her son David find joy in Tae Kwon Do once again in this more encouraging environment and saw that Andrew was instantly welcomed into a high performance family of athletes and found herself and her husband Dave continuing to be challenged to improve every aspect of their own Tae Kwon Do skills, they have never looked back. Kicks for Kids proved to be the ideal place for the MacKinnon family’s individual needs and a place that they could enjoy some positive, quality time together.
Michelle also noticed that this seemed to be the kind of feedback that was coming from all the members and Kicks for Kids became a home away from home. When Michelle was approached by her Tae Kwon Do instructor to open her own Kicks for Kids in Oakville five years ago, she was flattered but not really interested. She was a Montessori teacher with her own highly successful school and her husband Dave and two adolescent sons David and Andrew practiced WTF Olympic-style taekwondo with her up to six times per week.
"I truly believe that a happy and successful life is all about having the correct balance. I thought my life as an educator, mother, wife and recreational athlete provided me that," said Michelle.
Dave thought that this new venture might bring this ideal balance into his life and also provide a solid foundation for their children’s future careers, and so he managed to persuade Michelle to pursue a dream she once had as a young adult. Michelle, a retired competitive gymnast, attended Seneca College’s Gymnastics National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) with the hopes of opening her own gym for both recreational and competitive artistic gymnastics. Teaching is something that comes very naturally to Michelle and she has been doing this most of her life. In fact, she was instructing two- to four-year-old gymnasts when she was just 13 years old. At the age of 14, Michelle began teaching all levels, from kindergym to competitive gymnasts, training along with her for provincial competition. Michelle’s gymnastics background made taekwondo easy for her to learn and advance quickly.
When their two sons switched from one Montessori school to another, the boys were faced with severe bullying. Michelle and Dave dealt with this as a family and came up with several ways to cope with it - one of these ways was to begin taekwondo classes together. As they progressed through the ranks, David and Andrew gained better self confidence and a great deal of self-control and patience and the bullying subsided. The whole family continued to support one another and push each other to continue to reach their black belt goals.
Over these past five years, the entire family has had a role in helping Kicks for Kids to become a safe, healthy and fun place for children and their families in the Halton Region.
Michelle and Dave MacKinnon are educators and entrepreneurs at heart. Their management style is to empower both the instructor and the student to reach beyond their comfort zones and to continually establish new bench marks.
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