New Castle News

April 9, 2013

Packing a punch: City police part of program that teaches boxing skills to teens

David Burcham
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Hoping to forge relationships with city teens, New Castle police are participating in a program that teaches boxing skills.

The Foundation Boxing and Youth Center and the NCPD are working together to provide a half-dozen scholarships to boys and girls who have an interest, but are unable to pay for training and licensing.

“It’s a year’s worth of training at no cost, but we’re asking for a commitment,” said Terry Black, trainer at the local gym. “It will take time, dedication and hard work.”

Black said only those who meet the criteria will be accepted into the program.

“Boxing helped mold me and keep me out of trouble when I needed it the most,” said the 40-year-old Black, who has supervised The Foundation boxing program for more than six years. “I believe it can do the same for others.”

The NCPD recently launched a program called “PLAY” — an acronym for Police Leading Active Youth.

Police chief Robert A. Salem said the department will have direct involvement in the boxing program. He said “PLAY.” is designed to promote trust and understanding between young people and police with the hope of developing strong, positive attitudes toward officers and the law.

Officer John George, who is in charge of “PLAY,” said the boxing program can be beneficial on many levels to the participants.

“It’s about more than just boxing,” said George, who is proficient in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. He said training at The Foundation will also teach teens the discipline, structure and responsibility that will help them be successful in other endeavors.

George said the police department would sponsor as many as six male and female students, ages 13 to 18, in the boxing program. He said those chosen would have to follow certain rules and maintain academic standards.

Interested students should contact Black at (724) 698-3316 to schedule interview appointments. The deadline is April 19.

“PLAY” programs included an at the YMCA. George said there are plans to make day camps available to kids this summer.

Black said more than 40 people, including 10 females, trained at The Foundation last month. The boxers range in age from elementary students to adults.

“We think the program will be beneficial to underprivileged or At Risk kids who without financial help would be unable to participate,” Black said. “This will give young people an opportunity to learn boxing skills and get into shape,”

George said police want to build strong friendships with the youth of New Castle “to eliminate any negative stigma that might exist.”

(Email: d_burcham@ncnewsonline.com)