By Thad Angelloz
HOUMA, La. — Helping kids stay safe in school is Shari Champagne’s passion.
The 39-year-old owner of TKO Kickboxing in Houma doesn’t mince words when it comes to describing how she feels about bullying. Her program, “Safe Kids: YOU B THE CHANGE,” was established in 2003 through her desire to address an issue that’s close to her heart.
“I had my share of problems with bullying when I was younger,” Champagne said. “I was a sort of tomboy who liked sports and got teased a bunch.”
And bullying didn’t skip a generation for Champagne’s three children. “Before my son grew up and got into football, he was a chubby kid with freckles, glasses and braces,” the Houma native said. “People picked on him all the time, and I got to the point where I got sick and tired of it.”
Champagne recalls an incident where her son got punched in his face and arrested at Evergreen Junior High School in Houma.
“The charges were eventually dropped once they found out he was simply trying to stop the other kid from hitting him,” Champagne said. “It was at that point that I made the decision to step up my efforts to address bullying around the area.” And since 2003, Champagne has been talking about the dangers of bullying. Full story.