Chuck Norris, wife honored for helping at-risk children in Houston

Thursday, May 14, 2015
Chuck Norris, wife honored for helping at-risk kids in Houston
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Chuck Norris' Kickstart Kids program has helped thousands of at-risk students in the Houston area through karate lessons

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Houston is filled with heroes and on Thursday, Crime Stoppers of Houston recognized a few them.

Eyewitness News anchor Dave Ward emceed the annual "Houston Heroes Awards Luncheon," and one of the people honored was none other than actor Chuck Norris.

Norris has more than 24 starring roles in movies, and spent eight years on TV as "Walker, Texas Ranger." But on Thursday, the martial artist and actor had a different starring role.

In 1992, Norris and his wife Gena started a program called Kickstart Kids to help at-risk students in the Houston area.

"What we're finding is that Kickstart Kids is still a secret here in Texas," Gena Norris said.

Despite that secret, the program is now in 51 schools across the state. More than 7,500 students participate.

"School violence is cut down, bullying, teen pregnancy, gangs activity," Chuck Norris said.

It's all through learning karate, from beginner to black belt.

"Come to one of our belt ceremonies and see these kids receive their upper grade belt. It's the most impressive thing you'll ever see," Chuck Norris said.

An astounding 80,000 kids have graduated in the last 22 years. But the Norrises say they can't do it alone.

"We need partners at all levels. We need them from the community level to corporate sponsors to make this happen," Gena Norris said.

If you'd like to get involved, visit the Kickstart Kids website.