How Warzone Boxing Gym in Reno is fighting to keep young Latino children safe
The gym has partnered with the nonprofit S.W.A.A.A.G. Foundation to keep its doors open for more hours.
Edgar Perez, a boxing coach and professional boxer from Mexico, is teaching young kids in North Reno, Nevada how to separate themselves from violence at his gym, Warzone Boxing Gym.
For some kids, the escape encourages them to stay off the street and focus on training and education.
By supporting local youth and creating this opportunity for local kids, they are less likely to engage in drugs and alcohol.
"My job here is to help kids and foster their minds," he told 2 News. "Help them stay away from drugs, alcohol, and gangs and give them something positive for their futures."
Perez, along with his daughter and several other volunteers, has been focused on limiting the violence that has been plaguing the Latino community in Reno for years.
"When I heard about the gym being behind, I definitely wanted to step up and help my community in the best way I could," said Kyle Zion with the S.W.A.A.A.G Foundation. "And I felt that was to create a partnership, raise some funds and keep this gym open because of the importance it holds in the Latino community."
The S.W.A.A.A.G foundation, (Students With Achievable Academic or Athletic Goals) is partnering with Perez to help keep his gym open, especially when children need it as a way to escape violence.
The nonprofit also provides resources to students and parents who see the importance of being a student first.
According to Harvard Medical School, there are many positive benefits to taking up boxing. One, is an improvement of brain function, and another is enhanced mood among others.
Boost to self-esteem and confidence are another reason why children want to stay at the gym.
"I don't feel insecure anymore," Shayla De Jesus told 2 News.
The impact the organization has on young Latino kids is also not going unseen.
"I used to be so insecure about myself. And I also wanted to learn how to lose weight and how to defend myself," said De Jesus.
Perez’s daughter, Ashley, who is also an experienced boxer, explained further the love she has for these young kids who are being introduced to boxing. In her mind, it’s a normal family that shares a love of the sport.
"We're not just a boxing team, but a big family. Those that don't have families or a place to call home, at least we can be that for them," she said.
Reno’s population is 255,601.
The chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime are 1 in 180.
Zion wants to take his nonprofit organization to other local kids in the Reno area, but right now, he is trying to help Perez pay his rent for the boxing gym.
If Perez falls behind on rent, the boxing gym will close, which will devastate the lives of many young kids.
To support the cause, donate to the S.W.A.A.A.G Foundation.