Boxer Gives Youth a Fighting Chance

John Island

By Amanda Elliott By Kia Croom Professional boxer and Richmond native John Island knows the importance of giving back. He is teaching local youth the fundamentals of boxing, as well as transformative life skills to help them overcome personal and community risk factors that threaten their healthy development. In 2008, Island helped launch the Richmond Police Activities League (RPAL) Boxing Program to stimulate mental and physical growth in youth, while teaching the dedication and discipline of boxing. “I am surrounded by kids, especially those who have trouble paying attention and following instructions,” he said. “I have found that boxing helps them focus better.” Through group and one-on-one boxing instruction, Island mentors youth and offers them healthy and constructive activities to occupy their time. “The program is designed to encourage youth to channel their energy into positive activities,” Island said. “We want to ultimately decrease youth recidivism in our community and encourage them to be productive and responsible.” In addition to boxing instruction, young people benefit from tutoring sessions held before each practice during the school year. The RPAL Boxing Program to youth and adults who wish to box for health or sport. Adult classes are held Thursday and Friday from 7 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. at the RPAL at 2200 MacDonald Ave. in Richmond. Facing financial challenges , RPAL recently held its third annual Richmond’s Finest Boxing Show to  raise money for the program. Island and RPAL staff are also seeking support of individuals and corporate sponsors to promote  the organization’s long-term sustainability. To make contribution or for more information, contact John Island at or at (510) 621-1221 EXT 1217 .
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