a Letter from our Board President
Let me begin with my sincerest hopes for your continued safety and good health and for your loved ones as well. We have all been challenged this past year like no other in memory, and these challenges will likely stay with us at least into the near future. That said, I have been tremendously impressed by the adaptability and resilience exhibited by the CYMAP community – our excellent instructors & staff, board members, and especially our phenomenal students and their families. From adjusting from in-person classes/meetings to joining them online to continuing your attendance even in these very uncertain times, you have personified what it means to observe perseverance, indomitable spirit, and all of our Tae Kwon Do tenets.
For those who don’t yet know, during our most recent CYMAP board meeting I was honored by being asked to assume the office of president, replacing outgoing president Mr. David Glazer. While both humbled and excited to accept, I do so knowing full well the days and weeks ahead will continue to test us all. To Mr. Glazer, and to his predecessor Master Jeff Gendelman, I offer heartfelt gratitude for the leadership, commitment, and passion with which they have helped guide CYMAP along over these past ten years. The same goes for our fantastic executive director and head instructor Mrs. MaryFrances Palmisano; since meeting her when I began my training as a white belt in 2012, she has become so many things to me: instructor, classmate, sounding board, role model, but most importantly – friend. I am truly thankful to have such shining examples, including all board members past and present, to light the way as we move ahead into 2021 and beyond. I also greatly appreciate the trust that I have been given, and I commit to doing my absolute best in order to live up to the confidence you have placed in me.
My deepest thanks also go out to our amazing CYMAP community of students, families, and instructors. As mentioned above, I’m inspired by your ability to endure and adapt through so much of the incredible adversity of 2020 – the pandemic, its many impacts on basically every aspect of life (on the economy & employment, on our home & family life, on education, on our ability to socialize, etc.), social unrest amid the constant struggle for social justice, and more. To have gone through all of that (on top of the day-to-day challenges we already had!) while maintaining your attitude positive and your character strong truly exemplifies what we mean when we say “Pilsung!” Whether it’s learning a form, breaking a board, keeping true to our oath & tenets, or even getting through one of the most difficult years in history and coming out of it stronger than before … we can do it.
I’d like to conclude with a brief look to the future, ever-changing as it seems. With the COVID situation continuing to intensify, I feel it important to encourage everyone’s continued patience, confidence, and flexibility while CYMAP continues to adapt as we navigate the days to come and – hopefully soon – get back to a sense of something resembling “normal.” I remain very excited as we forge ahead with our plans for 2021: our annual fundraiser event in October (details forthcoming); building on/expanding our programs and community relationships; further strengthening our bonds with the J.K. Lee family; broadening and increasing opportunities for volunteerism and other ways to help; and, above all, continuing to support, encourage, teach, and learn from our amazing CYMAP students.
Board President, J.K. Lee City Youth Martial Arts Program
When he’s not volunteering his considerable time and talent as a CYMAP instructor, Mr. Robinson, a third degree black belt, trains extensively, helps on our annual event committee, and is also a spatial epidemiologist specializing in vector-borne diseases.