Neighborhood Boxing Gyms Help Keep Youth Off the Streets
Teens growing up in troubled neighborhoods often find themselves drawn into seedy situations against their will. Whether it is peer pressure, or a feeling of despair for the future, many of today’s youth fall prey to the allures of gangs, violence, and drugs. One of the most effective ways to circumvent this calamity is by making sure these kids stay active in after-school programs.
One of the best activities for children and teens to participate in are the fitness programs held in their schools or local gyms. There are neighborhood fitness centers like these all across the nation. Their success stories never cease to inspire. Whether it is boxing, basketball, or badminton, studies have shown that after-school activities dramatically lower incidence rates of violence and crime amongst teens.
Programs like ones organized by Horace Bryant at the Fourth Street Youth Boxing Gym in Minnesota are perfect examples of the preventative power of these clubs. Bryant saw the trouble that teens in his neighborhood were getting in to, and wanted to make a difference. That’s why he coordinated his youth outreach program with the owners of his local gym.
Take a look at the case of a young man named Chris Watson. Chris was involved in trouble with the law ever since he was 14 years old. He had been arrested multiple times, dropped out of school in 2007, and was even charged with a felony. Watson stated that he would have likely continued down the bleak path he was on if it weren’t for his local boxing program.
“I just had nothing to do back in the day; I wasn’t working,” Watson said. “I had so many friends I didn’t know what to do with and they were always doing something illegal or something fun. Ever since I met Horace, going to the gym is what I look forward to everyday. I can’t wait to get off work and go boxing.” Bryant not only helped Watson with his training, but also helped him get a job. Chris is now studying to complete his GED, and hopes to someday inspire kids the way that Bryant inspired him and saved him from the streets.
Gyms and stories like this exist all over the nation. It is incredibly important to support programs like these. These organizations improve the lives of the children enrolled in it, while at the same time decreasing rates of crime and violence in their surrounding neighborhoods. Unfortunately, due to the recent recession, much of the funding to these programs via state and federal grants has been slashed. Often times these gyms depend on donations to purchase MMA equipment to help them prepare for matches. That is why it is so vital to recognize how crucial these programs are to our communities around the nation, and the world.
Check out more about Horace Bryant’s program at the Fourth Street Youth Boxing Gym in Minnesota.