Turn to Tara: Bullying victim uses Kung Fu lessons to gain confidence, hope
In a follow-up to News 12's "School of Pain" series
, a young boy who struggled to deal with bullying has found new confidence and passion, all thanks to a stranger who wanted to help.
Joey Palamara, 11, is only a few weeks into his Kung Fu lessons at the Chinese Martial Arts and Education Center in Pleasantville, but the results are already noticeable.
Months ago, Palamara was the subject of relentless bullying that he spoke about at an open forum held by News 12. He says that taunting about not knowing his father got to the point that he asked his mom about suicide.
Eastchester resident Charles Vollmoeller saw the story and wanted to make a difference. He reached out to News 12 and offered to pay for Palamara, whom he had never met, to take Kung Fu classes for self-defense.
"I live paycheck to paycheck, I can afford one thing and that's to be a little bit poorer," says Vollmoeller said through tears. "You know, we are all in this together, it's humanity."
Palamara says the classes made an immediate impact, boosting his confidence to stand up to those who bullied him.
Vollmoeller and Palamara met face-to-face for the first time last week. He expressed his gratitude for paying for the lessons.
Palamara's story also touched Chazz Palminteri, of the hit Broadway show "A Bronx Tale." He brought Palamara backstage during a recent performance.
Within just a short time taking lessons, Palamara has already earned his first stripe and is poised to continue to move up in the ranks.