Kickboxing to Inspire & Challenge Kids (KICK)

It might seem hard at first to see how kickboxing could help solve complex global issues. But then you meet Karl and Joy.

KICK is a free 12-week innovative programme based in Tallaght, south-west Dublin. It combines challenging youth work activities and kickboxing techniques to address rising levels of obesity, mental health issues and anti-social behaviour amongst teenagers. KICK is helping to address Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 through its activities, increasing participants’ physical abilities, social skills and emotional wellbeing. SDG 3.4 is to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one third by 2030.

KICK boosted my self-confidence and allowed me to keep my head up when things in life got me down. I made more friends than I ever thought I could in my teenage life. I became a better person and gradually my grades in school got much better. If it weren’t for KICK, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I feel comfortable in my own skin.’
Leon Donnelly, KICK Participant

Before applying to Rethink Ireland, Karl Flynn and Joy O’Shaughnessy had just begun a pilot in Tallaght for KICK. They now run regular classes there and have expanded to Clondalkin. They have also launched their KICK academy – which targets teenagers in disadvantaged schools – and Mini KICK, which is directed at supporting younger kids. Their growth continues, with even more local development companies and youth services interested in piloting the KICK programme.

Over the course of my career, working with Rethink Ireland has been a highlight, one of my favourite times. We received media training early on and, as a result, we got into The Irish Times: something you don’t usually see when it’s just two people and six kids in a room! We have actually become so successful we need to find a headquarters. I can’t stress enough how good the Accelerator Programme has been for us.’
Karl Flynn, KICK