Balancing athletics and academics is a task that many young competitors around the world face with or have had to face with. Eventually athletes will have to say farewell to sports competitions and compete with real world tasks such as being able to land a job that they love to do. It may be difficult for some to balance the demands of both athletics and academics. Fortunately Dr. AnnMaria De Mars, a former judo world champion, has developed an educational program for young students and student-athletes called 7 Generation Games to aid those who may be struggling in academics in a fun way.
De Mars has met many young athletes while teaching judo and middle school who didn’t have “a good prognosis for the future because they were struggling academically and didn't have the resources to help them.” She considered that maybe their parents were too busy to help them or they didn’t have the resources to work with, especially if they spoke a second language. When she proposed her idea to develop a program to help these kids, investors doubted it would work and that “it was too hard” which she noted is what she was also told when she wanted to win a world championship.Getting these games into the hands of as many students as possible is a major goal which they plan on doing by “expanding into more after school programs” says De Mars. One of these programs include their new “Strong Mind Strong Body” program for 3rd through 7th graders that are involved in sports. The games teach math, social studies, English and Spanish. Players who win an entire game receive a certificate of recognition at their gym. A player who completes two games in a month will receive a certificate of achievement. Clubs with 10 or more competitors within a month will make 7 Generation Games “Champions Wall.” Programs like these are important because the club leaders become role models for the young students who are involved in sports which “reinforces the importance of success in academics” and “is an initiative that has a high potential for success” says De Mars.
The team at Moya loves to help programs like 7 Generation Games by also helping the community and giving back as much as possible. We have partnered up with 7 Generation Games to provide judo gis to Gompers Middle School’s after school program which has enabled student-athletes to practice and compete in local tournaments. De Mars and her company “sincerely believe in a strong mind in a strong body. We provide regular recognition to students in our program who are high achievers in school. Support from Moya Brand in t-shirts, hoodies and other incentives, presented at the end of judo class in recognition in front of their peers has a dramatic positive effect on the students.” Moya stands with 7 Generation Games and their vision for the youth because it emphasizes the worth of academic success and lets students know that they can be recognized for their efforts on and off the mat.