Detroit (CBS Detroit)  – The Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program is changing the lives of Detroit students and helping them excel. Their free, after-school educational program provides tutoring, mentoring, enrichment, college and career readiness, and strong academic support as well as boxing and athletics for children ages 7-18.

“In the beginning, boxing was the hook to get kids in the door,” explains Khali Sweeney, Founder, and CEO Downtown Boxing Gym. “Boxing is a sexy sport, parents are attracted to the physical discipline of it, and everybody likes to test themselves, they want to feel like ‘I can do this’. But Boxing is just like any other tool, in this case, it’s the tool that gets you in the door.”

 

Once you get in the door, the values of the program are explained, which is Academics before anything. “We also tell you about our work towards community service, which is giving back,” adds Sweeney. “Academics will open more doors for you than a sport will ever open. You have longevity in academics and you can build a lifelong career from it. There are not that many injuries from using your brain, that I know of.”

“The challenges that they face are the challenges that everybody faces around the globe.  Being heard and being listened to is the most important factor. I’ve seen kids come in here with the same GPA that I had as a kid, which was a Zero GPA! Now they’ve gone on to be honor students.”

“I believe there’s something Golden inside each and every one of us, and I believe everybody in this world is connected. I just want to put that seed in their minds so it will grow, that we’re all connected, we’re all one family.  When I look into the eyes of any kid that walks through this door and has been here for any amount of time, I see hope, I see guys who really see themselves as being a part of the future and the next generation of change-makers.

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