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Bronx martial arts school that helps children with autism fights to stay open

Posted at 5:06 PM, Dec 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-27 17:06:12-05

THROGS NECK, The Bronx -- Master Pablo Quinones has been teaching martial arts at Q & M Martial Arts Academy in the Bronx for more than 20 years.

Quinones, a fourth-degree black belt, is afraid he'll have to shutter the business in 2017.

"Twenty years we have been in this community," Quinones said. "We have to keep this place open for the kids."

He says his school mostly serves children who can't afford classes and those with special needs.

A third of their students have autism.

He says his school don't turn anyone away.

"We want to keep the kids off the streets give them a positive outlook. We don't turn away anybody, " says master Sonny Mahai, co-founder of the Q & M Martial Arts Academy.

The problem is finances.

The co-founders want to keep the doors open, but enrollment is down and they can't pay the rent.

They need a New Year's miracle as they fight for funding.

They've applied for grants and turned down.

Both Quinones and Mahai are veterans who served our country and are now serving the children of the Bronx.

Kenneth Sepulveda, 19, started karate when he was just 11 years old.

His father said his attention and ability to follow directions has improved 150 precent. He thinks other children with autism could benefit from the classes too.

If you want to give to the school, visit this link.