Cape Girardeau group combines faith and boxing to help teens suc - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Cape Girardeau group combines faith and boxing to help teens succeed

(Source: KFVS 12) (Source: KFVS 12)

A group in Cape Girardeau is combining two unlikely elements to keep kids active and off the streets.

Faith and boxing is the name of the game for the Christian Boxing Academy.

Organizers and participants call it a win-win for the community.

"Boxing is just, if you had a stressed day, you get to hit stuff," boxer Lemeon Giles said.

Training is held every Tuesday during the school year at the Bridge Outreach Center, at the corner of Jefferson and Frederick Streets, in Cape Girardeau.

Giles, a Cape Central senior, has been part of the after school program since it began three years ago.

"When I first started boxing, I thought ‘oh I just get to fight,’” he said. “[I] went just to fight, got beat up, so you have to learn, it's different.”

Different like the program's approach to working with at risk kids.

The program’s boxing instructor Danny Rees has been involved in the sport nearly his whole life.

"Boxing, the physical aspect of it gives a certain amount respect upfront," Rees said.

Now he's using his experience to teach life lessons.

"We got all these kids and none of them know what they want to be when they grow up. So we want to teach them how to think about dreaming,” Rees said.

That's why before they're allowed to strap on the gloves academics and prayer take precedent.

The faith based program means something different to everyone involved.

"You got to study, you have to because we not aiming for average grades," Giles said.

"It's giving me hope, friends, and new people to meet," Roman Wilkerson, a Central freshman said.

"It just seems like everyone here, it seems like everyone is a big family," Kordell  Batchelor, a three year participant said.

Organizers say it provides kids and young men with new confidence and responsibility.

"We as the older kids have to be a role model for [the younger kids]." Daniel Pacheco said.

Boxing is providing Cape Girardeau teens with new opportunities.

"The more you're here the more you off the streets," Giles said.

And a sense of pride in the community.

"I don't want to hear no ‘I'm going to shoot you this,’ I want you to get in the gloves and go," Giles said. "That's it."

The program is free for participants and put on by the Salvation Army.

Anyone in 5th grade and up are welcome to attended.

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