SCHWEINFURT, Germany - Graceful steps, kicks and punches. These are just a few moves that the School of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills Unlimited is teaching to children and youth here.

Indeed, of the vast array of programs offered by SKIES, instructions on the elegant steps of ballet and the dynamic moves of karate is proving popular at U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt.

Overall, SKIES, which is supported by the Army Family Covenant, provides just what its name indicates. By offering opportunities for the youth of servicemembers and Department of Defense employees, the program strives to enhance participants\' knowledge, inspire them to explore their talents and to acquire new abilities.

"Our primary focus is to establish ... quality programs for children, so they can discover their skills and get better at them," said Peter Potter, acting SKIES director.

Potter also emphasized the goal to ensure consistent and affordable prices for participants, while providing dependable, high-quality instructors, who strive to provide lessons that stretch beyond the classroom.

"My goal is for my students to learn about their feelings ... and their self-respect. I want every child who leaves my class to know that they are beautiful, graceful and amazing dancers," said Kim Brice, the SKIES ballet instructor.

"Studies show that children who are physically active, grow up to become healthier adults," added Brice. "Encouraging them to make exercise a priority is very important."

Dmitrij Videnin, the SKIES karate instructor, believes it is importance for the children to learn lessons that apply to their daily lives.

"By teaching karate, I'd like to reduce (their) aggression potential. (My goal is) not so much that they have a good body conscious," Videnin said.

Overall, SKIES programs give children an opportunity to become socially active with their peers, which, hopefully, helps build their self-esteem, noted Potter.

"Especially with (future deployments, these classes will provide a positive outlet for the children and help to support the parents," he said.

Page last updated Tue November 25th, 2008 at 05:41