CHICAGO (CBS) – An active community program to keep children safe in and around neighborhoods where gang violence reigns.
As CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reported on Monday night, it’s a fight with one pair of boxing gloves at the same time.
It involved a small group of people dedicated to fighting crime in a single room in North Lawndale. Round by round, they deliver what their name promises – Negative boxing.
Coach Derek Brown takes kids who might be in trouble and introduces them to what they call “their best selves.”
“He said to me, ‘Aren’t you the boy who threw that rock at my car?’ I said, “No, that’s not me.” He said, “It’s you!” “He just wanted to discipline me, and change my life, and that’s what he did,” Trumale Coleman said.
Coach Brown has been there for 12 years at his gym.
“I am preventing our children from becoming the next offenders,” he said.
The gym is less than a mile from the scene of gun violence by the gang that killed an 8-year-old boy Melissa Ortega in Little Village last weekend.
“Things like that happen every day in our community,” says Brown. “They’re struggling with their day-to-day lives going out into these communities to fight to stop the same things from happening again.”
The program is in demand. It received some funding from Illinois’ “Restore. Reinvest. Replace.” This program comes from 25 percent of tax revenue from the sale of marijuana.
But it is never enough.
“Organizations like this get only small portions of resources,” says Brown.
Boxing Out Negativity has a waiting list that reaches 100 children. All are looking for a place to change their lives.
“We joined an organization, we became a team – it feels like I am a family here,” Coleman said.
Brown believes that finding solutions to crime can be found by investing more in more places like Boxing Out Negativity.
“It is small organizations like these that make the biggest impact in these communities,” says Brown.