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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

BRAUSA Health and Fitness for the Sighted, Blind and Visually Impaired

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Performing Arts Schools

Mission: BRAUSA is dedicated to promoting health and fitness, providing cultural education, and building community through the preservation and sharing of Braziian arts, culture and sport. Our goal is to make Kapoeira accessible to all, including the blind and visually impaired.

Target demographics: The blind and visually impaired community.

Geographic areas served: Greater Los Angeles, CA (though we hope to expand!)

Programs: We provide free Kapoeira classes for the blind and visually impaired. Due to its multi-faceted nature, Kapoeira provides many benefits to this community. Master Raiul created a curriculum specifically designed to cater to the challenges they face every day. Some benefits include: • Improved balance and increased strength. • Access to both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, which increases power and muscle mass and improves cardiovascular and respiratory systems. • Development of gross motor skills (large body movements such as punches, kicks, acrobatics, and grappling) and fine motor skills (more detail-oriented movement such as playing various Kapoeira instruments – berimbau, tambourine, drums). • Improved self-defense skills • Increased socialization • Increased self-esteem and self-confidence • Having FUN!

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This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

10 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Paul G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

BRAUSA - a team of compassionate individuals bringing martial arts and Brazilian culture to those of fortunate enough to cross paths with them. I have trained with them on and off for several years and they have enriched my life in a great way. There's something about bouncing around on the mat with with music and likeminded people that fills me with great joy. Mestre Raiul and Co are compassionate about what they do and selfless in their care for all us who have the privilege to be a part of their group.



christinatam

Client Served

Rating: 5

BRAUSA brought free weekly Kapoeira classes to visually impaired and blind teens at Braille Institute in Los Angeles during Winter/Spring 2011. This integrative sports program was highly effective as it integrated a multisensory approach to teaching teens physical exercise by means of coupling instrumental music playing with the practice of martial arts to challenge our students physically, mentally and uplifting them emotionally. BRAUSA is a worthwhile organization to support because they bring a successful rehabilitative exercise to the blind and visually impaired population.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I never knew Kapoeira. The first time I heard about it was at the Braille Institute, when Master Raiul brought the BRAUSA Kapoeira classes there. I am so glad Kapoeira found me. I was so surprised how vigorous the exercise is. Physically I got stronger. And it’s very good for self-defense, especially for visually impaired people. The music makes me feel like I have no limits, that I can go beyond them. I never played musical instruments before, and the pandeiro, berimbau and atabaque are so interesting and fun to play!

All my life I never exercised, until I lost my eyesight. It was a new beginning for me. I’ve never been this healthy before. I don’t feel 66 years old. You forget your age.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been doing martial arts for about 15 years now. When I started training with Master Raiul and Tiffany, I had just found out I was pregnant and was going to have a baby. Tiffany and Raiul were very accommodating and awesome to work with. I continued my exercise and training all the way until I was 35 weeks pregnant. I maintained a great health and balance throughout my pregnancy as a result of eating healthy and exercising regularly. Not only that, I was able to drop 38 lbs just 7-8 weeks after I had the baby because I was able go back to BRAUSA and begin (very gradually) training again.

BRAUSA is great for health and development of strength as well as self-defense.

Client Served

Rating: 5

BRAUSA's Kapoeira classes are fantastic! Master Raiul has amazing patience to teach the visually impaired. I myself am visually impaired, and I know it is not easy to teach something like Kapoeira to those with disabilities. I love Kapoeira because it is a big challenge, and it is stimulating. I was discouraged from doing exercises or sports because of my disability. My doctor recommended that I only walk for exercise, but I am too young to only walk, and it's too boring for me! I wanted something else to do that was more challenging and more interesting. So I was excited when I heard about Kapoeira classes specifically for the visually impaired. For us, we don't have many exercises available to us, nor do we have knowledgeable teachers educating us about health and nutrition. I think BRAUSA is special because they also encourage youth to exercise and learn about fitness, which is especially critical for sedentary-prone blind or visually impaired kids.

Calder G.

Board Member

Rating: 5

BRAUSA is driven and dedicated to helping the visually impaired community. Where some see a limitation, a handicap, Brausa sees an opportunity to challenge, to overcome; that you can achieve anything, no matter what stands in your way, if you set your mind to it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BRAUSA is making a difference. I have seen BRAUSA grow from concept to reality. I assisted in teaching BRAUSA's Kapoeira classes to the visually impaired at The Braille Institute of Los Angeles and saw first hand how it improved the lives of the students -- improved posture, balance and strength along with some significant weight loss. Classes were so popular that the Institute added two more classes to their schedule. Raiul Cerquiera has come up with a teaching technique that works for people of all levels, accomplishing what would seem impossible. It is benefiting the visually impaired community with an opportunity to improve their physical and mental health and having fun at the same time. It is a program that deserves to be recognized and shared with institutions around the country...even the world!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with BRAUSA for about six months and believe that this organization provides an important service to the blind and visually impaired community. I have been working in the nonprofit sector for over 10 years and I like that this organization is a mix of cultural, health, arts, and service. Master Raiul has created classes that are specifically geared towards those with disabilities which help to encourage confidence and physical fitness. I have had the opportunity to meet some of the students and am impressed with how excited they are about the classes. I only wish that there were more classes made available in different Los Angeles locations so that different communities could take advantage of them. I hope that more people will take the time to support this organization and even come and experience the classes for themselves!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am so grateful to know Master Raiul at BRAUSA and learn Kapoeira from him! He is so passionate about helping the visually impaired and he is providing a wonderful service! I have never met anyone who has really wanted to improve fitness in the blind and visually impaired community! I had an accident at work in 2004 that left me totally blind. I became depressed and I gained a lot of weight. Before the accident I was very active - I played soccer three times a week! And after the accident I tried to find some kind of exercise that I could do without sight to make me feel better. But there was no information about what I could do, and walking and doing push ups were not enough. After six surgeries in each eye some of my sight was restored, but I was still searching for a way to feel better and escape depression. Luckily, Master Raiul was providing free Kapoeira classes at the Braille Institute. I didn't know what Kapoeira was or if I was able to do martial arts, but I decided to check out his class. Kapoeira was an exciting new sport for me, and I felt safe learning from Master Raiul. Now, after doing Kapoeira for 7 months, I feel a lot better. I am stronger and more confident. I invited my family and friends to class, and now my son takes classes with me every week. We love Kapoeira!

Board Member

Rating: 5

BRAUSA is dedicated to promoting health and fitness, providing cultural education, and building community through the sharing and preservation of Braziilan arts, culture and sport. We specifically outreach to the blind and visually impaired community, a group that is often overlooked when it comes to physical activity and fitness. Through Kapoeira, a martial art developed by Master Raiul that is a combination of traditional Capoeira, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, individuals are able to increase endurance and flexibility, build strength, increase self-confidence, and build community. Master Raiul is a great teacher who is passionate about helping all individuals attain their maximum potential. He educates his students about their bodies, nutrition and fitness in a way that really motivates and empowers them to take charge of their health. After several months of classes at the Braille Institute, visually impaired students have shown their excitement about Kapoeira and exclaim how they feel better, how they have lost weight, how they feel stronger, and how they want to bring their friends to the class. We can see improvement in self-confidence as well as an increased sense of belonging.