By Alexia Krause
Children who are raised in crime-ridden neighborhoods can often find themselves subjected to seedy situations against their will. It could be a result of peer pressure, or perhaps a feeling of hopelessness for the future, regardless of which, many teens these days are falling prey to the temptation of violence, gangs, and drugs. One of the most effective ways to prevent this type of misfortune is by making sure these children participate in local after-school programs.
Among the best programs for children and teens to participate in, are the fitness classes held in their schools, community centers, or local gyms. In towns and cities all across the nation, you can find fitness programs specifically directed towards kids. Whether it is boxing, basketball, or badminton, studies show that after-school activities significantly lower incidence rates of crime and violence in the areas that support them. Inspirational stories from these types of programs never cease to amaze.
Programs like the one founded by Horace Bryant at the Fourth Street Youth Boxing Gym in Minnesota are great examples of the deterrent power of these clubs. Bryant saw teens in his neighborhood constantly getting into trouble, and he wanted to make a difference. That’s why he organized his youth outreach program in conjunction with the owners of his local gym.
Chris Watson is a personification of the great good that these programs are capable of. Chris started building up his rap sheet at the young age of 14. By the time he dropped out of school in 2007, he already had multiple arrests, and was even charged with a felony at one point. Watson has said that he would very likely still be involved in that lifestyle if it weren’t for Bryant’s mentoring.
“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.” Horace has not only inspired Chris to take up the sweet science, but also helped him get a job. By the time you read this, Watson will have completed his GED, and hopes to someday influence kids in a positive way, much like Bryant inspired him and saved him from the streets.
Stories much like this one are popping up all over the country. It is imperative that we support programs like these. These organizations have the power to improve the lives of the kids enrolled in it, while simultaneously lowering rates of violence and crime in their surrounding neighborhoods. Unfortunately, due to recent budget cuts, much of the funding to these organizations via federal and state grants has been cut. Because of their lack of funding, these gyms depend on donations to purchase MMA gloves which is necessary to help them prepare for matches. That is why it is so critical to recognize how vital these programs are to our communities around the country, and the world.
Alexia has a true enthusiasm for writing articles related to mixed martial arts and fitness. As a result, she joined up with MMA Industries- retailers of highly popular MMA clothing and MMA shirts. Alexia has been blogging about the latest trends in MMA equipment for the past few years, and continues to provide you with the latest news in the MMA universe.
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