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Achieve Indy

Empowering youth to break the bonds of poverty.

My Blog


Work Hard, Play Hard

Posted on August 4, 2014 at 11:44 AM
We have had an awesome summer and are prepared to resume regular schedule starting August 11th. We finished last semester with our Junior Olympics tournament. Our young champions represented our team well in the tournament. Our boys earned another 6 state titles. Two bouts were notable. Johnny Batana stopping his opponent in the 2nd round and Edson "Rampage" Driver avenging his Marion loss. Edson won a 3 round war of attrition and at only 10 years old, he has an impressive USA boxing record of 16-2.
We took 16 kids to White River paintball. This trip is for our students who achieved and maintained Honor Roll for both semesters of last year.
The Elder Family, from the Boxing Commission met us at the paintball field and brought sodas for the scholars. We played countless rounds of capture the flag and had a blast.
Our Next trip of the summer, was a trip to Holiday World. This is a trip is based on achievement in the boxing ring. In order to go on our Holiday World trip, a student must have competed in at least one state boxing tournament. We started our trip with dinner at Los Bravos Mexican restaurant. The kids ate huge plates of authentic Mexican food and buckets of chips.  
In addition to our fun filled summer,  we did several community service projects. One project was special and I believe will mark the highlight of our boys' summer. An AI board member suggested that we do a work service day at his church, St. Luke's United Methodist Church. This wouldn't be a regular community service day. Our boys would actually be paid an hourly wage for their work. We arrived at the church at 9am. St. Luke's provided red t-shirts, with the church's name and our sponsoring host brought red hats and work gloves. Our boys were elated to have an actual work "Uniform". We pulled weeds, trimmed hedges, picked up trash, mulched and did general landscaping. Several times staff and patrons of the church complimented our boys. Every time a compliment was given you could see the boy's chests swell a bit and their heads lift a bit higher. We worked until lunch, then our host ordered Jimmy John's for our entire crew. In typical fashion, our boys ate half of their sandwiches and saved the rest for later. After lunch, we continued our work while our sponsoring host and one of our champions started working of the entrance sign. After an hour or so of working pulling weeds, trimming and cleaning the sign, transformation was noticeable. The sign was a visible sign of the boys labor. Although only our sponsor and one champion worked on the sign, all of our boys took pride in the change. When our day was complete the boys were paid and quickly removed the uniforms. Every kid put the uniform back on before they arrived at their homes. They wanted their family and friends to see them in an actual work uniform. Two of our boys bragged of their plans to walk around their neighborhood wearing the uniforms. I asked why and they replied "coach, you know girls like it you have a job". I chuckled and was proud of the boys and loved  seeing them so proud of themselves. This is a project that I would love to expand into an entire summer long work study program. I see the face of our Lord every time I am with the boys.
Another place that we have had significant movement this summer is in our transitional living program. In a nutshell, this program is for our boys that have been in our program, graduated high school and are either in college or trade school. The boys would live in the house with an AI intern that would also serve as the residential advisor for the home. They would live in the home for 12-24 months and have weekly independent living classes. A portion of the rent paid would be saved in an account so that at the end of their time in the transition home they would have acquired skills, money saved and a lease history. These are often the biggest obstacles that face our boys in finding housing. A bank has offered to donate a home just a few blocks from the gym. Unfortunately, after several meetings with home builders and rehab teams, it looks like the cost to transform the home to meet our needs will be to great for us. There are several community partners that have expressed interest in helping us build a new home in our community. Please pray for us as we attempt to meet the needs of our students in a way that empowers them to transform their lives.

Categories: Coaches Corner

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