Listen: Boxing as a Safe Haven. The idea might strike you as counterintuitive at first, but after a trip to the gym, it immediately locks into place (just take a look at our piece on Ace Boxing Gym from last year’s Neighborhood Project). In the United Community Center’s impressive cloud of services and programs, they have a long-standing youth boxing gym headed by Israel “Shorty” Acosta (look out for a piece on him later in the week). On any given night, on the second floor of their fitness area, you’ll find upwards of 50 kids working the bags, soaking up technique, and learning lessons that can be extended far beyond the ring.
Luis is wearing a white t-shirt (in the black, white, and baby blue trunks) and facing the camera.
Luis Feliciano is a perfect example of the impact the UCC’s gym can have on a youth. A rising Junior at Rufus King High School (my alma mater!), Luis has been a regular at the gym for about half of his life now and has continually risen through the ranks of amateur boxers. In fact, just this Spring, he had an opportunity to represent the United States in the Youth World Boxing Championship, but his trip was unfortunately cancelled due to the volcanic ash from Iceland (more about that can be found in Gary D’Amato’s article on Luis). Listen to Luis on how boxing has shaped his life (scroll to the bottom for the audio piece).
Sound interesting? You can learn more about the United Community Center and their history, and if you’re a little adventurous, go down to the UCC and check out the gym for yourself!
Produced by: Adam Carr