A Rockford area boxing gym wants to revive a program to help low income and troubled teens.
The 'Gloves Not Guns' program was successfully operated at the Zone Fight and Fitness gym a few years ago. They have since moved to a new location, and want to start it back up again.
The program is operated out of certain boxing gyms across the country. But right now the nearest chapter is in Chicago. Zone Fight and Fitness co-owner Sergio Marquez wants to bring it to Rockford.
He says the program is structured for kids ages 9 to 17 who may want to exercise and learn new things. "It's like a boot camp style course, they do learn self defense, they learn boxing, boxing techniques."
He explains, kids who may be picked on at school will learn how to boost their self confidence. "We're also looking for the bullies to find out what's going on with them, why are they aggressive that way, and help them control their aggression, too."
Sergio also hopes he can help mentor the troubled teens through the course. "We want to help them understand who they are that there's a place that they can come to get some aggression out, someone to talk to, a coach, a friend."
But before the program can begin, the gym needs people to sponsor kids. It costs $100 for one teen to go through the 9 week course. "The money goes for their gloves, for their shoes, for wraps, for stuff like that for them. For T-shirts, jump ropes."
With enough support, the program would be offered to low income teens for free. "We've always wanted to help give back to the community, kids in this community, a lot of them need this type of program."
Sergio hopes to have the program up and running by the first of the year.
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