Answering the bell|
Program promotes boxing, wrestling and respect
For Bruce Jones, director for the City of Decatur Youth Services Department, Saturday's open house of the Police Athletic League's boxing and wrestling training facility is the beginning of many good things to come.
The activity center is at 733 Wilson St. N.W., next to the Wavaho gas station.
Upon entering the building, it's hard not to notice the large boxing ring, punching bags and mats that are sure to receive good use.
Through boxing and wrestling programs, and even a planned exercise program for the future, Jones envisions many chances for young people to work on projects designed to make them better people.
"The purpose of this program is to teach discipline, self-control and accountability," Jones said, while pointing at a large sign on the wall listing those three goals.
"I've placed the signs there so everyone knows what is expected of them."
The sign reads: Code of Conduct for participation at Decatur Youth Services PAL's Boxing Club and Training Facility.
Discipline: By participating in this program, you cannot take the fighting skills we have taught you and use it for street fighting. This will teach you discipline.
Self-control: By participating in this program, if provoked into a fight by someone, you must only respond in self-defense. Self-defense comes only after you have attempted to walk away. This will teach you self control.
Accountability: Respecting the Code of Conduct for the Police Athletic League's boxing and wrestling training facility will bring honor to you and to the program.
"There are many ways to describe what our goals are here," Jones said. "One way would be to say that we want to take kids off the street and provide them with a proper structured atmosphere to help them improve themselves.
"For the boys, well, a lot of them don't have good male role models to associate with. We hope to provide them with that. We also want to have our girls to have good female role models to look up to.
"We would like to speak with adults who have the time and feel like they can be these role models that we are looking for."
Jones said the sports offered won't have any conflict with other leagues or associations who may offer the same sports, including school systems.
"We're going to be putting a lot of pieces together here to better our kids," he said. "A lot of kids around here may play baseball, football or basketball, and that's great. But for every kid who doesn't play a mainstream sport, we want to give them the opportunity to get involved in something. The more we get them involved in structured programs, the less likely they are to cause problems elsewhere.
"Who knows? One day we might have someone from our amateur boxing program to become a professional fighter."
The program is for boys and girls ages 6 through 18.
For children wishing to find out more about the boxing program, they may come by the center Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 9 p.m., or Saturday from 8:30 a.m. through noon.
For the wrestling events, children may come by the center Tuesdays or Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m.
Jones also says information may be obtained by calling Decatur Youth Services at 341-4690.
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