Local martial arts school teaches kids leadership through service

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TWIN FALLS, Id. ( KMVT/KSVT ) While most of us spent the day tracking down all those Black Friday deals, a small group of families are passing up those shopping opportunities to serve other* families.

7- year-old Benson is excited for Christmas, and just like many boys his age, Christmas presents aren't far from his mind.

However, rather than going out to shop on Black Friday this year, Benson and his family are helping the Salvation Army get ready to help needy families for Christmas in the Magic Valley.

"We're unloading the boxes of toys to put them and sort them for a Christmas shop," explained Benson.

For the last 10 years, Success Martial Arts instructor Brian Higgins and families who have students in the program have dedicated their time to help set up the Salvation Army's Toy and Joy Shop on Black Friday.

"I don't know that the kids get it right away, but the parents appreciate the opportunity. How often does a 5 year old get to really do something for someone else?," said Higgins.

The shop provides toys, clothes, and winter jackets for families that would otherwise go without.

This year, they hope to serve around 200 families.

"We really run off of the volunteers. We need people who are willing to put in a little time each day to come in and help restock shelves and make sure everything is presentable and out so people can see what the toys are. That really helps parents kind of look to see what their children like. We really do need the help," The Salvation’s Army Youth Worker, Melissa Henderson.

Families that qualify to take part in the special toy shop pick up items the week before Christmas.

Higgins says being able to teach leadership to his students through service opportunities like this is one of the most valuable lessons he'll ever teach them.

"I'm really happy like today, because I'm able to help out. It just feels good to help other people," said Benson.

If you'd like to volunteer at the Salvation Army as well to help them get ready for the Toy and Joy Shop, contact them at 733-8720.