CLEVELAND, OH - The founder of DNA Level C Boxing Club in Cleveland has dedicated much of his work to helping troubled youth.
"Instead of okay, we can just duke it out, now they're realizing they can actually do something with the art of boxing,” Coach Ra’Sheen Ali said.
They call him “coach” and he started the gym three years ago.
"I was making a good salary as a union carpenter but decided to give that up and come do this,” Ali said.
He said he’s doing what he’s doing now because of the kids he impacts every day.
"We have some that were on the verge of being incarcerated and decided to come here and it's working out for them so far."
Ali said he knows the combination for success because it worked for him, too.
"I think the greatest success story is mine,” Ali said. “Growing up in a broken home and not having this opportunity and then being able to get out of this street life."
Now, he’s part of a program designed to further those efforts with Gloves Not Guns.
On Thursday night, co-founder Damien Parker asked the community to get involved.
"With the Gloves not Guns program we found out that there are a lot of well-intentioned people, but a lot of folks - if their interest wasn't necessarily mixed martial arts or boxing - it kind of was a dead stick,” Parker said.
Parker said the goal of the fundraiser wasn’t solely for the kids who came from broken homes, it’s for people who want to live in a safer city.
“That kid that you're taking off the street could be the kid that comes to your neighborhood and robs you,” Parker said. "It's a circle, one thing impacts the next."
So for kids from DNA Boxing Club, their lives will look very different than it did for their coach.
“If I can stop them before they do down that path, we won't have to worry about the guns,” Ali said.
If you are wanting to help or learn more about Gloves Not Guns, click the link.
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