Boxing program targets young people
Keeping kids off the streets
AMHERST - Helping to keep youth off the streets of Amherst, the local boxing club will have more of an opportunity after being approved for a grant through the justice department.
The Heather Arseneau Memorial Boxing Club, operating under the Cumberland African Nova Scotia Association, was approved late-February for a one-time grant in the amount of $2,154.
"I believe we're the only (organization) approved in Cumberland County, so we were very fortunate to get it," said Liz Cooke-Sumbu, executive director of CANSA, about the grant from the Department of Justice's crime prevention strategy, Time to Fight Crime Together. Amherst Police Department's community policing officer, Const. Francis Smith, had approved CANSA, says Cooke-Sumbu, indicating the grant may be an opportunity for the club to gain financial assistance.
"The (CANSA) board looked at how they could best use this money and at this time we do have some youth that come and are unable to pay, so we are applying that toward some of those youth to make sure their costs are covered," she added.
"And we're also looking at getting some new gear."
Trainer Roger Dorrington met with CANSA in the last week or so to discuss the club and the equipment that is available to students.
"Over a period of use, the equipment gets worn down and it needs to be replaced," Dorrington said. Looking at the bag gloves at the club, at least one pair is split and held together with duct tape.
Some of the equipment Dorrington has recommended the club purchase includes an uppercut bag, sit-up board and extra speed bags. He would also like to see more sparring gloves as well as a different type of headgear.
"The headgear we have is open, so we're looking into getting headgear with more side protection for safety reasons."
The boxing club, which has been running for almost three years, averages 15 to 20 students per night, and operates Monday and Wednesday evenings, from 6 to 8 p.m. Application forms for the KidSport and Jump Start programs are available at the club, for any parent interested in registering their child but who may not have the financial means to keep them participating.
"A lot of the students have really progressed," said Dorrington, pointing out a 13-year-old male student. "Evan is one of the ones that shines the most when you sit back and watch him."