By Mark Hallum
The Empire Saber Guild will be at the Bell Boulevard Sports and Health Festival Sunday inspiring the ways of the force in young Jedi.
The nonprofit organization that uses the fanfare of the Star Wars franchise to teach lightsaber stage choreography to young people will forward the majority of proceeds to St. Mary’s Hospital for Children.
Rubin Polizzi is one of the founders of his chapter, which uses its volunteer network of about 60 participants to do charitable work, not only in the five boroughs, but in other parts of the country.
“It’ll be a good way for people to stop by and take a quick lesson in the basics of stage choreography and how to put together a lightsaber battle,” Polizzi said. “The best part about Saber Guild is the fact that everything we know, we learned from teachers. We didn’t enter this as professionals, stuntmen or choreographers. We entered this as geeks and people who wanted to dress up as their favorite Star Wars characters and do good for the community. So it’s really good to give back and find like-minded individuals who would like to join up with us later on.”
Empire Temple is the New York chapter of Saber Guild International, which was established eight years ago in California. The chapter has been around for about five years, with Polizzi at the helm for at least three years.
Polizzi said the organization had originally wanted to work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but after performing at St. Mary’s, they decided the medical facility was a better fit, since the guild would use the funds to provide resources from a list of materials needed by the hospital. This was preferred instead of simply making their donation without knowing exactly where the money ended up.
“We know it’s going straight to the kids or to the families and things they can physically use,” Polizzi said. “We’re not changing the world, but we’re helping to brighten the world, one lightsaber at a time. We hope that by doing small good deeds it can lead to good things in the future.”
Around $9,000 was raised for St. Mary’s Hospital for Children over the past year.
“When we looked at the bigger organizations, we felt they were taken care of,” Polizzi said. “You hear about Make A Wish and St. Jude’s and they have marketing teams and people who can really get out there. So we decided to stay super local and the work St. Mary’s does is amazing. The kids are so full of life.”
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall