Justin Hu, 16, of Vienna, Va., a junior at Madison High, teaches kung fu to children with disabilities and other challenges, and raises money to address medical and health-related needs in Africa and Asia, through “ABLE Kung Fu,” the nonprofit organization he founded in 2016. When he was 6 years old, Justin became infatuated with the Chinese martial arts known as kung fu, and over the next 10 years, he won three championship titles. “This sport has tapped into the best in me, engaging my discipline, grit and honor,” he said. “I was convinced that the valuable lessons learned from the sport should not be available to the few, or even only to the physically fit. I understood that kung fu could be a tool for building minds, morale and accessibility.”
He began conducting kung fu classes for kids with disabilities at his church, after-school programs, and summer school, and recruiting other kung fu devotees to help him. It wasn’t long before children in his classes blossomed with confidence as they mastered new skills. “Watching young people begin to believe they can become champions in their own lives makes my heart sing,” said Justin. As the word about his program spread, Justin was invited to teach kung fu to Special Olympics athletes last year. Through his website, he has raised more than $24,000 in donations for his nonprofit, some of which has been used to install an electric water pump at a school in Senegal. Additionally, he has paid for several pediatric surgeries in Taiwan and China, and a group of his volunteers in California carries musical instruments to teach and perform for underserved villages in those countries. Justin estimates that he and his 25 volunteers have had an impact on more than 6,000 children.