Turn to Tara: Bullying victim uses Kung Fu lessons to gain confidence, hope

Posted: Updated:
PLEASANTVILLE -

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.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."