I first stepped into the blue basement of the legendary Renzo Gracie Academy in early 2005 when I lived in…
An Inspiring Warrior
I am thrilled to announce Danielle Reyes Lim as the recipient of the 2020 EVOLVE Warrior Scholarship Award. Danielle will receive $10,000 in cash with no strings attached for her education fees to the Singapore Institute of Technology. My team and I created this program to help students from underprivileged families with their education. Everyone is eligible to apply. In addition to her cash scholarship award, Danielle will also receive a free lifetime membership to EVOLVE worth $50,000.
When I met with Danielle, I was inspired by her heart of gold and her happy spirit. You would never be able to tell that she survived a tough childhood of abuse, adversity, and poverty. As a child, she grew up in a home torn with violence. Her abusive father eventually abandoned the family when she was just 8 years old. Her single mom valiantly raised the kids on her own, struggling every day for their survival. Danielle worked odd jobs to help her mother make ends meet when her older brother ended up in prison. Due to her unstable home life, Danielle was unable to focus on studies and everyone around her encouraged her to forget about O-levels, and to settle for an ITE education. Undeterred, she studied hard for O-levels anyways and thrived, gaining acceptance into Republic Polytechnic. Today, she is studying physiotherapy at the Singapore Institute of Technology. She also has Olympic dreams as a member of Singapore’s national wrestling team. Above all, Danielle is an inspiration to everyone, including me.
Since 2010, the EVOLVE Community Outreach Program has been helping underprivileged kids through charitable donations, free martial arts training, scholarships, life mentorship, gift drives, and sponsored activities such as Movie Nights, Bowling Parties, and Team BBQs for kids of humble backgrounds. EVOLVE has a mission to change the world for the better by making a positive impact on the lives it touches. A big part of our joy stems from giving back to the community, especially to those less fortunate. Almost all of our instructors and World Champions overcame a life of hardship and poverty with very little food and shelter. Martial arts gave them confidence, tenacity, discipline, and a path to a better life. Inspired by the life of my Muay Thai master, Kru Yodtong Senanan, and my own experience with poverty, I launched the EVOLVE Community Outreach Program over 10 years ago with Papa Rich Wee as a way for the EVOLVE Family (students, instructors, World Champions, fighters, and staff) to give back to the world. With partners like the Boys Town Home, Children’s Cancer Foundation, Singapore Children’s Society, and several other organizations, the EVOLVE Community Outreach Program serves as a pro-bono program for various orphanages, youth homes, and charities.
Congratulations again, Danielle! I am super happy for you. Your story is a reminder that it does not matter where we begin in life. We can always create a better future if we choose to make the sacrifices for our dreams. There are no limits to what you can achieve in life, Danielle. Keep chasing your greatness! #WeAreONE
Chatri Sityodtong is a self-made entrepreneur and lifelong martial artist from Thailand. His rags-to-riches life story has inspired millions around the world on BBC News, CNN, Financial Times, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Channel NewsAsia, and other major media. He is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of ONE Championship, Asia’s largest global sports media property in history with a global broadcast to over 2.7 billion potential viewers across 150+ countries around the world. He is also the star of the Asian edition of The Apprentice, the award-winning, global reality TV series. Forbes most recently selected Sityodtong as one of Asia’s next generation tycoons. Sityodtong was also named “Asia’s King of Martial Arts” by the Financial Times and the “2nd Most Powerful Person in Sports in Asia” by FOX Sports. He is also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD, Europe’s top business school. Inducted recently into the Black Belt Hall of Fame, Sityodtong is a Kru in Muay Thai and a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Sityodtong holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Tufts University.