It takes a lot to overwhelm Christina Rondeau.
After all, the Johnston businesswoman has won numerous kick-boxing and boxing championships and is a member of Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
There’s proof everywhere inside Rondeau’s Kickboxing and Rhode Island Fitness Center at 609 Killingly Street, where champion kickboxing belts are hanging everywhere and as common as people punching bags and skipping rope to get into top physical condition.
As the old adage goes, there are exceptions to every rule.
When Rhode Island Monthly, in collaboration with the Rhode Island Foundation, held its First Annual Common Good Awards reception at Harbor Lights Marina & Pool Club in Warwick, Rondeau was among three major award winners.
Rondeau’s Kickboxing received the prestigious Micro Category Award and joined such highly-respected businesses and agencies as Brokers’ Service Marketing Group (Small Category), Coastway Community Bank (Medium Category), Hasbro (Large Category) and CVS (Honorable Mention-Large Category) that were also honored at the recent awards fete.
Rhode Island Monthly and the RI Foundation honor local businesses that inspire philanthropy in their employees by encouraging volunteerism and doing good deeds out in the community that seldom make headlines. Recipients of the Common Good Awards are chosen by a panel of judges.
The Common Good Awards are also presented to those companies that step further and offer their employees incentives including paid time off and donations to charity. The judges were impressed by the many different projects that were submitted by all the recipients.
Rondeau’s Kickboxing was selected for the Common Good Awards for her long-standing, 27-year dedication for teaching people to feel empowered.
“It’s important that students not only feel fit as they learn the art of kickboxing,” Rondeau told the awards audience, “but that they also know they can protect themselves. Our passion is making sure you are not a victim and have the confidence that comes along with being fit and learning real kickboxing and self defense.”
The Johnston resident who has organized a myriad of fundraisers during her career told the Sun Rise, “I was really humbled to receive this award. It is a huge award and very, very big event and I thank the sponsoring organizations and judges for this great and special honor.”
Rondeau once launched “Knockout Wishes” which offers fee self-defense classes to women in homes that shelter victims of domestic violence. Knockout Wishes also fun-raised to grant the wishes of people with serious medical issues. In addition, each Rondeau employee is asked to donate three hours or their time a month to a cause of their choice.
Meanwhile, the Common Good Awards judges praised that level of social commitment by such a small business.
“Domestic violence training is huge!” exclaimed one judge while noting that “Rondeau also reaches out to other s in the small business community, offering free space in her gym weekly to give them the chance to find new customers and increase sales.”
Moreover, people closely connected with the kickboxing and martial arts community will attest that Rondeau attributes the longevity of her business to the fact that she cares about each person who comes through the door; she cares about community.”
Yet another example of that came last week when Rondeau held a special fund-raiser at her Johnston gym to raise money for residents at Chateau Clare, a high-rise subsidized housing complex in Warwick, whose television was stolen from the community room.
Once the event was over, she said, “I’ve got to get a TV these people.”
The fund-raiser was held on a Friday night and by Sunday afternoon Rondeau delivered a brand-new 55-inch television in time for the Chateau Clare residents to watch the Super Bowl or their favorite shows.
“Now that’s doing something for the common good of people, especially those elderly folks,” a women who was training at Rondeau’s gym said. “Then again, helping people has always been a way of life with Christina.”