SALT LAKE CITY – The after school refuge for at-risk teens, State Street Boxing Gym, is on the ropes.
They must move out of their Salt Lake facility by January 1st, 2017. They’re asking the public to help them move into a bigger facility.
The gym is like a second home to Gianni Madrid.
“I was having problems in school with bullies," Madrid said.
He began training at the gym at age 8. Now at 18, the skills he’s learned have saved his life.
“Boxing has helped me stay out of like, not only drugs, but stay away from drama, not just in school, but life in general," Madrid said.
Madrid is one of hundreds of teens who box, train, hang out and do homework at the non-profit organization.
“It started with one bag, and one kid, and one pair of gloves,” said David Mario Ramos.
The former boxer combined his passion for the sport and building confidence in kids like Gianni.
“It's not about them getting into the ring boxing, it's about them coming in feeling like part of a team, they have the same drive as these other kids to stay off the streets and do good," Ramos said.
His dream may be short-lived. The lease on the building is up on January 1st. Ramos has found a bigger facility, but needs money to move in.
“It's not an option to close, so I'm humbly asking if the community can help us out with our new location,” Ramos said.
With more space, Ramos can reach out to more teens and help them find their way, with help from mentors like Madrid.
“State Street is known to be small, very grimy, but it's where the heart is,” Madrid said.