It is helping to keep Albuquerque kids off the streets. The owner of a local boxing gym says he worries about where the kids he trains would be if it weren’t for a special program.
Now a local non-profit is making sure these kids are able to stay at the gym even when their families can’t afford it.
“It’s really helpful as like a place to escape,” explained Xochitl Padilla, who says she was a troublemaker.
“I was bored, I didn’t have anything to do,” she said.
It has only been a few months since she’s been training at Warrior Boxing and already she says, she has changed.
“And once I started coming to boxing, it’s helped me see more that I’m capable of pushing myself to better things,” she explained.
Head coach Raymond Zamora says that is exactly what he wants to see in his young fighters.
“Our mission here is keeping New Mexico kids off the streets and in programs,” he explained.
Kids who he says would likely head down the wrong track, without the discipline they learn here.
However, he says keeping the kids at the gym isn’t easy.
“Sometimes you see these kids show up and they last a month or something like that and generally they don’t leave because they hate the program or they don’t want to work hard, it’s generally because they don’t have enough money to stay,” he said.
Gloves, fees and other equipment don’t come cheap.
“I think a lot of them have a great desire to do a lot of sports and a lot of things and because of need or the inability for their parents to pay financially they’re not able to,” explained Jill Montoya, co-founder of Los Ojos de la Familia.
The local non-profit is helping by providing half of the enrollment costs for dozens of kids and often, equipment too.
“It helps a lot because my family doesn’t have a lot of money,” Padilla explained. “So honestly if I wasn’t a part of their program I probably wouldn’t be here right now.”
It’s a partnership that is making a big difference by changing one life at a time.
“There are a lot of kids that I’ve seen that have changed their lives completely,” Zamora said.
“It taught me how that I want to keep doing my school and it just keeps me driven,” Padilla said.
Los Ojos de la Familia also helps kids take part in other community sports.
Students have to write quarterly updates about how the programs are helping them.
The organizers say they know more kids will be needing help.
To lend support or to sign your kids up, click here.