Megan Vigneau

Megan Vigneau graduated from grade 9 on June, 2014 and received 9 awards upon graduation. Megan began training with MAMBEC in May of 2006, and received her MAMBEC Black Belt in 2011. She sent an awesome message to MAMBEC… thank you for your kind words Megan!

Hi guys, thank you so much. I wouldn’t have been where I am today with out Mambec, my mom tends to say that to. When ever anyone goes what an awesome child you have we both go and say I wouldn’t be this way with out Mambec.

Mambec has help to shape who I am as a person now, it has helped me so much threw out Jr. high. I wish I could have stuck with the program,hockey took over and school took over my life, but I still miss the program and everyone very much. It was a very tough decision to make, having to leave wasn’t really what I wanted.

I hope that there are many more success story’s that come out of mambec because mine would never have been so grand without the support and lessons I received from the program. Two of the awards I received involved leadership parts to them, and Mambec taught me every thing I know about how to be a leader.

Hopefully I will be by soon to visit, I hope you are all doing well as well.


Megan Vigneau

Philip M. Hochman (Recreation Nova Scotia)

RNS should try to utilize its resources in order to enhance the human and organizational capabilities of this outstanding program. Presently, this Program is based mostly in Metro, but could be delivered throughout N.S. If this were to occur, more of our children and youth would be exposed to this initiative, and as a result we would have a better society.

Therefore, marketing of the program could be done through the Newsletter, Conference, and by word of mouth within the RNS network. However, if this program were to expand geographically, Lavonne would have to have greater human resources developed in order to meet the increased demand. This could possibly be accomplished with a Service Canada program, and RNS and the local organization. Another possibility would be a grant from NS HPP. This should be examined in more detail.

In conclusion there is a big upside for this initiative, and hopefully the future will allow the program to expand so that more N.S. children and youth become exposed to this information and apply it to their daily lives.

Philip M. Hochman
Director of Recreation
Municipality of the District of Guysborough
33 Pleasant Street, P. O. Box 79
Guysborough, Nova Scotia B0H 1N0
Tel: 902-533-3705 Ext 223
Fax: 902-533-2749
Email: phochman@modg.ca

Sara Merchant (Parent)

MAMBEC has provided a safe and fun environment that has helped my daughter learn about many social and physical threats, and how to deal effectively with them, while building her self esteem. She has shown a marked improvement in her social interactions at school as a result, and as a parent I couldn’t be more proud of the mature way she is handling them.

Sara Merchant (Parent)

Jun Tang (Parent)

The MAMBEC Volunteer Program is a process to help teenagers build more self confidence and responsibility realization, volunteers become physically fit and achieve self defense ability by learning Karate skills in the program, and also volunteers understand more things regarding life and team spirit.

Thank you so much for your kind help to my daughter.

Jun Tang

Sharmon MacPhee (Parent)

Dear Ms. Carroll

I am writing to say how pleased I am with your program. My daughter Taylor attends your class at Strides in Elmsdale. She just got her yellow belt on Saturday.

I am glad I chose this class over the traditional. I really like the life lessons and I know Taylor is listening. Yesterday, her 2 year old brother, John asked her to do something and she said “John you are being lazy. Lazy is when you ask someone to do something that you can do yourself”.


Sharmon MacPhee

David Young (Parent)

MAMBEC delivers! I want to take opportunity to express my satisfaction with the impact MAMBEC has had on my son Christopher. Christopher is a boy who exudes confidence and has an educated perspective about the “real” world and the good and bad within. He has learned and applied several of the concepts which MAMBEC taught him the last 3 years. He knows that respect is a 2-way street and that with his gained knowledge he should set an example for his friends to follow, and this he does everyday. He can identify bullying and has learned ways to deal with it in a manner that defuses potential for conflict. He is continuing to broaden his “street smarts”, and knows the dangers that can develop from strangers and the fast growing Internet. He has knowledge of what it means to be responsible and disciplined, with chores at home, schoolwork or social behavior. He understands completely that the goal of a Martial Artist is to prevent a fight not to promote one. Christopher really has gained many meaningful life skills since partaking in MAMBEC 3 years ago. I feel strongly that MAMBEC is a worthwhile and truly meaningful investment, and will provide your child with several necessary tools to use and grow with safely in today’s world.

David Young (Parent)


Michelle K. and Gordon C. (Parents)

Our 7 year old son has struggled in social situations. He has always been stressed out in groups, was easily frustrated in school, had issues making friends and difficulty participating within recreational sports teams. His school principal recommended MAMBEC. In less than 2 months, we’ve seen a complete transformation in our son. He isn’t causing disturbances in school classroom and is now playing well with other children. His anxiety in social situations has decreased, he’s more articulate about his feelings and explains himself verbally instead of becoming frustrated and having outbursts. He looks forward to the classes every week, is proud to come home and demonstrate the martial arts he’s learning and we are relieved that finally there is a program that has helped him to develop coping strategies and gain confidence in himself! MAMBEC is an amazing program!

Brenda Moore (Parent)

We enrolled our son in the Mambec Summer program after his first year in school ( 3 years ago). Bruce, our son, is and has always been very well behaved and well mannered, but he had problem with self confidence, low self esteem. Thinking because of his size, he could become a bully but soon realized he was the target of bullying. We felt nervous taking him from his friends at the local daycare and placing in an environment where he did not know anyone.

Bruce matured tremendously that first summer. In 8 weeks, he had made new friends, received lots of exercise (swimming, martial arts, out-door games), learned how to handle name-calling and other forms bullying. He entered Grade One more confident, more relaxed with himself and able to handle stressful situations.

Over to past three years, Bruce has been developed a keen sense of right and wrong. He consoles other children who are bullied and knows when to walk away from any offensive situation. He as received Student of the Month Award in November and has been reported by his teachers to be one of the most kind, respectful and obedient children in his class. Bruce is participating in a new Radio Program as with his school focusing on Bullying.

I feel that today, as parents, we must look for programs which will give our children exercise of not only the body but of the mind. This is a program which will help develop your child’s well being and help guide them through the day to day pressures of growing up.

One day driving home, Bruce related to me that a very good friend had announced in front of his classmates that Bruce looked fatter after the Christmas break and had everyone laughing. I know how much it hurt and I was very upset. When I said that I would deal with it, my son in all of his nine years of age, said, “No, Mom, he is one of my best friends. He doesn’t understand that he hurt my feelings and bottom-line is – It’s only Words. Like Lavonne taught me, Words cannot hurt me!”

Thank you, Lavonne. Your program has been one the best experiences for Bruce so far. He will continue in the fall program and you may seen him this summer. I am trying to give him some choices with his activities. He wants to keep some contact with his friends from school and day care. I still think he will become bored this summer, time will tell.

Brenda Moore (Parent)


Donna (Parent)

Hi, Lavonne:

I mentioned to dad again about being Santa for next year and he said it would be his pleasure. He loves that job!! And trust me the kids love seeing him do it. He has such a kind heart that I think he out does the really thing sometimes.

I got Josh’s report card and I must say that I was disappointed to see that even with the new curriculum they are still penalizing kids for being shy instead of offering them encouragement. I was very proud though when I did read his report card.

“Josh a is still very quiet member of our class. He follows the rules and routines well. Directions have to be repeated for him at times, as he is either not listening or hasn’t understood them. He does need encouragement to ask for help if he needs it. Josh gets along well with is peers and is a good class citizen. Josh is meeting most of the language arts outcomes. He does not offer to express his feelings or to relate his experiences with the class. He listens to the ideas and opinions of others and will sometimes respond to them. He is beginning to participate more in small group conversation now, but still reluctant in whole group activities. He is reading above grade level material.

He received 2 C’s ~ as he does not participate openly in discussion, 6 B’s and 2 A’s. I am so very proud of him. His physical activity has gone from C to an A!! I feel strongly that is because of your encouragement and support with him. He is really coming around. One thing I will say is that the day of your Christmas party I sort of got put in my place by him and that really impressed me. I thought that after the Pirate was done and you encourage the kids to grab some food and see Santa, that he would need my help to do so. Well , was I ever wrong. This is the first time in 6 years Josh actually went and saw Santa. Not once did he go up but twice and all by himself. Including climbing through the crowd of people to get to him while I waited way at the back of the room. Even Anne Thomas noticed the big improvement. Josh felt so good about that, it really made his day. Not to mention he actually went to the food table without feeling sick seeing all that differen! t food there. Normally he would never have taken anything just freaked because he thought he had too. He actually took took things and even ate them. They were cookies but to him they were perfect!

I wish you much success in the New Year and hope you have a fabulous time in Mexico, you truly deserve it. You not only are Josh’s hero but mine too. As a single mom I have a lot to learn and boy are you ever showing me that road. It is great though, would not change it for anything.



Kimberly Howells (Parent)

My name is Kimberly Howells and I am the mother of Philip Howells (5 years of age). Philip attends your Saturday session from 12:00 – 1:00. I just wanted to take a moment to express my thanks and appreciation for the special attention and encouragement you showed Philip last Saturday (October 13th).

Philip attended MAMBEC in the spring (session ended in June 2007) and received his yellow belt. He really enjoyed the classes and would look forward to the next week’s lesson. However, since the very first class of this session I have been having trouble getting him to come to class (he says one of his reasons is that he is scared he will get hit by the noodle and everyone will laugh at him). He has not missed any classes this session yet, but he does start saying on Saturday mornings that he does not want to go and by the time we get to the parking lot at CHP he is crying. I was considering letting him drop out as it seemed very stressful for him but I really did not want to go that route for a number of reasons, the main one being I think it is a WONDERFUL program where the children learn not only to protect themselves but also “street smarts”. By the end of each class Philip tells me he had a great time and wants to go the next week. Then it’s the same thing all over again – Saturday arrives and he does not want to go.

By mistake I brought Philip to the first class on Saturday from 12:00 to 1:00 for the session that just started in September). I forgot that they were supposed to attend from 1:00 to 2:00 pm this time around. I decided to keep him in this class as I did not feel he was ready to continue in the next level given the trouble I was having even getting him to attend.

I have been bringing Philip myself to every class except the last one when my mother took him for me when I was unable to attend with him. You have no idea how delighted I was when they got back. Philip was walking on air and could literally not wait to tell me that he was your buddy for the entire class and got to stand up front beside you! He also told me about the special event planned for this coming Saturday and that he gets to be your buddy for that presentation too! He also invited me to attend! (How cute.) He has been telling everyone who will listen (and those who don’t want to) that he is going to be your buddy one more time on Saturday at a “very special event” and stand beside you “up front”. He is so looking forward to Saturday that even I will be glad when it gets here!

So once again Lavonne, I just wanted you to know how much my husband and I appreciate what you have done for Philip (and in turn, us) by being understanding, supportive and encouraging. Philip says that after this special Saturday he does not want to miss MAMBEC, ever! I am very much looking forward to Saturday and seeing Philip proudly stand beside you and be your buddy! THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU!


Kimberley Howells

Christina and Don Goulden (Parents)

July 23, 2013

I wish to commend you for the amazing program you offer. Your instructors are compassionate, respectful and knowledgeable. The program focus on Martial Arts with social skills was perfect for our family.

Over the last few years our son has attended the day camps, summer camps and regular program. As a child with ADHD, the program has been a huge success for him. He has gone from being a regular student to growing into a leadership role.

We have seen him gain confidence and self esteem as he has progressed through the program. As he mastered each new skill and progresses through the belts, we can see how proud he is of the accomplishment. He is now approaching conflict in a non-aggressive manner, using the other methods he learned in the program. The physical activity and outlet for the excess energy is a great benefit to him.

Because of his success and enjoyment of the program, our daughter now attends the Summer Camps and she too loves the program.

Your program is second to none and the confidence we have in the program and its instructors only grows each day. Sincerely,

Christina and Don Go

Glenda and Scott MacDonald (Parents)

Our daughter, Lindsay, started in the MAMBEC program at age 7. We became aware of the program through a notice sent home from school. Lindsay is now 12 and has advanced to the highest level in the program and achieved her MAMBEC black belt. Through MAMBEC Lindsay has had the opportunity to be tested and graded in the art of traditional Chito-Ryu karate through the Infinity Martial Arts Karate program under Sensei Mike Smooke and has received her yellow belt (Go-Kyu) in that program. Lindsay prefers the MAMBEC program which is less combative and less competitive while still learning the self-defense and self-discipline techniques of the traditional martial arts through the MAMBEC teachings and training. Lindsay has learned many mental skills as well as the physical self-defense skills and more importantly she knows the responsibility that comes with the knowledge of such skills and has developed great respect for others. Lindsay continues her advanced level training and also volunteers her time to help the younger MAMBEC students. Through the volunteer program, Lindsay is gaining self-confidence and learning how to be a good role model. We truly believe the younger students will look up to Lindsay and want to follow in her footsteps and advance through the program to become a volunteer instructor like Lindsay.

As parents, we feel comfort in knowing that Lindsay has learned stranger awareness and self-defense techniques and will use that knowledge wisely. We are very proud to see Lindsay volunteering her time and we are very supportive of the MAMBEC program and grateful to Lavonne Carroll for introducing us to the program as we think it has been of great benefit to our daughter. We have witnessed Lavonne take this program through its initial developmental stage to the successful program it is today and we sincerely admire her efforts and determination, and we as a family feel that we have grown along with her.

With sincere thanks,

Glenda and Scott MacDonald (Parents)

Dalhousie University, School of Health and Human Performance

The outcome of the program meant children were better prepared for the “real-world” than others their same age especially due to the combination of life skills lessons and physical training.

Click Here for the Full Report.

Laurene Rehman, Study Author

MAMBEC has done three years of presentations in our after school programs. Lavonne has provided our students with valuable information and skills to protect themselves and their friends from bullying. MAMBEC has given the EXCEL students knowledge and skills that will enable them to be safe and stay safe throughout the rest of their lives.

Scott Ingram, Excel Afterschool Program

Halifax Regional Municipality

Carey-Anne Moser (Parent)

MAMBEC Life Skills Program teaches children how to handle life’s challenges. The simple strategies really work, and are easy to reinforce at home. For example, if my daughter is angry at her brother, I remind her of the ABCD’s of Conflict Avoidance – that gets her thinking. Next thing I know, they are playing together instead of fighting. Useful to me as a parent because I am able to get a point across to the children – what they have learned makes sense. It can be used in every day situations. Focus, self-discipline, compassion – makes my job as a parent easier.

I would like to mention how good Lavonne is with the children – they respect & like her and she makes it so easy for them to learn. Lavonne sees something special in each of them, and they sense it.

Carey-Ann Moser (Parent)

Tracy Axford (Parent)

We feel that the MAMBEC program has helped Jasmyn understand what being a bully is and how many different shapes and forms it comes in. She has improved a lot over the past 3 years in showing that she can be a caring person and sensitive to others and her family members. She now has more self-confidence in herself and is able to control some of her impulses. She actually listens to our direction better now than she ever has. She is comfortable with her skills she has learned in the Martial Arts area. This program has helped us talk to her about bulling and being a bully. It has also reminded us the different shapes and forms it comes in. We feel that MAMBEC has helped her with her self-control and understanding what this means. Jasmyn is a very strong willed child and needs guidance in many areas and we feel that MAMBEC is helping us with this.

Tracy Axford

Sarah Pace (Parent)

When Lavonne asked me to write a short testimonial describing how the MAMBEC classes have helped my son I jumped at the chance. My oldest son Sammy was diagnosed with ADHD about a year ago and one of the key suggestions made by his care team was to get Sammy involved in a fitness program that would not only retain his interest but also boost his self-esteem. There are many sports to choose from but only a limited number in which a child with a short attention span and little sports experience might excel.

When Sammy entered MAMBEC in September it quickly became apparent to Lavonne and her teaching assistants that there was something about Sammy that set him apart from others. I called Lavonne early on to get her input on his group conduct in class and told her about his ADHD and treatment. She talked me for over an hour as an instructor, as well as a parent and came up with a plan to help Sammy focus. Lavonne centered an entire class around Sammy with the intention of helping the other students be more accepting, as well as making Sammy realize how important his involvement is to the other children, and how his disruptive behaviors can negatively effect others. At the end she gave him a small reward for his excellent behaviors. Sammy left that class feeling like a million bucks! While I’d love to say that his listening skills have remained excellent in every class anyone with experience with ADHD would know I was lying. But no matter what happens, I know that Lavonne has the ability to deal with him fairly and compassionately. She goes the extra mile to include him in the group, and to offer support to us, over and above what goes on in class. She readily agreed to go along with our home behavioral plan, and continues to encourage us keep her up to date with Sammy’s treatment to see if she can offer further encouragement and support.

Signing Sammy up for the MAMBEC program was one of the best decisions we have made. As the oldest of four children, (and the only child in the family with ADHD), Sammy is inevitably the first to try a new sport or program. His (and our) experience with any program will be the deciding factor when it comes time to re-register, or to sign up any of his younger siblings. Thanks to the wonderful support we’ve received from Lavonne, not to mention how valuable the program content is, we have recently signed up his five year old brother in the beginners group. I sincerely hope that all four of my children are able to participate in the MAMBEC program, as I believe that the life skills they offer in conjunction with the martial arts training to be invaluable, and knowing that Lavonne and her assistants are so supportive means I never have to worry about leaving my children in her capable care.

Sarah Pace – MAMBEC (Parent)

Holly and Leif Grinstead (Parents)

Our son, Joshua, has been in the MAMBEC program since September 2005. We found out about MAMBEC in the Cole Harbour Place flyer and after reading the information about the program and its goals we enrolled Josh right away.

Josh has done very well since starting and he loves it. He had an incident at school back in October of 2005 where a child in the playground pushed him down and he cut his knee. When I found out about this I was very upset, as any parent is when their child (children), the most precious person in the world to us, is hurt at the hand of another. I asked Josh did he tell the child not to do that to him and he said “no mom.” In my frustration I told Josh to push him back, realizing this is not a great message but a frustrated one, and he said, “No mom, if I do that to him than that makes me a bully and I’m not going to do that.”

That was one of the most proud moments we have had as parents and that skill we know he learned at MAMBEC with Lavonne and her staff.

At Christmas time, at the MAMBEC party, Josh approached Lavonne and was very upset. When she asked him what was wrong he told her that the child sitting next to him did not have the MAMBEC spirit and that upset him. Lavonne asked Josh what the MAMBEC spirit was, as she had not used or heard the phrase, and he said kindness, respect and manners. She asked me after the holidays if I had taught Josh that and it was something I had not used or heard myself. Lavonne was so impressed, as any teacher is when a student shows a deep understanding, that she uses that phrase and definition in her teachings today.

The program is an asset to children learning to cope and thrive in today’s society. They learn valuable physical and mental skills. I have recommended it to many and would recommend it to anyone.

Holly and Leif Grinstead


Cole Harbour Place
51 Forest Hills Parkway
P.O Box 17
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
B2W 6C6
(902) 488-6779

Strides Health and Fitness Centre
550 Hwy 2
Elmsdale, Nova Scotia
B2S 1A3
(902) 488-6779

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