ORLANDO, Fla. — After being closed for the past two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, a business all about empowering young people is celebrating opening their doors again.

What You Need To Know

  • Capoeira studio CBP Martial Arts Academy reopens with new protocols

  • The Brazilian martial art incorporates dance, acrobatics, music

  • To learn more about the summer camp, visit www.407camp.com

CBP Martial Arts Academy in Orlando reopened Tuesday, with new safety protocols in place, such as temperature checks and extra sanitizing of equipment.

Students will enter, take off their shoes by the door, and wash their hands before lessons begin, according to Jessica Wernett, an instructor.

For those who call the gym off South John Young Parkway home, they're just happy to be back and learning Capoeira, the Brazilian martial art which incorporates dance, acrobatics, and musical elements.

“I wasn’t able to see my friends as much, do cool flips, or see the people I care about," said Jazlyn Torres. “You get to spend time with your friends, you get to hang out and learn so many types of things.”

Torres, a fourth grader, comes to the academy every day. She said that she discovered the practice, rooted in discipline and believing in oneself, after a weighty conversation.

“I told my mom that I wanted to be in something that I knew how to defend myself," she said. “The world’s not always a very nice place.”

Torres found support on the mat at a studio founded 25 years ago by Lazaro Santos.

Santos left his native country Brazil to do Capoeira demonstrations at Walt Disney World's EPCOT.

“I have big dreams. My dream is coming to America, [be] independent, be successful," Santos said. “I don’t have my parents, don’t have anybody else.”

But Santos found a family in his own studio, which made closing in late March even more difficult. They began filming an interactive series, offering lessons to students stuck in their homes.

“These kids are so good. This make me very happy, very proud," he said.

Santos will be even happier next week to see the place filled with kids, as they offer up for the first time a free summer camp to children, ages three to 12, from the underprivileged Oakridge area.

The academy went through a lengthy process to apply for the grant and in December, was awarded the grant — around $50,000 — for the first time.

Wernett​ said that the funding is for programming when schools are closed, as well as the 10-week summer camp targeting the 32839 zip code.

The camp, which will provide meals and lessons, begins June 1. For more information or to enroll your student, www.407camp.com.

“It feels like the part that was gone, is now back," Torres said.

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