Learning life skills from boxing, South Bend PAL

NOW: Learning life skills from boxing, South Bend PAL

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It’s a life lesson that packs a punch.

In an effort to curb violence among the city’s youth, the South Bend Police Department is encouraging kids to pick up boxing gloves rather than guns.

The numbers show that youth violence in South Bend rose this year, with four children losing their lives to acts of gun violence.

During the second annual boxing showcase, the South Bend Police Athletic League showed that throwing a couple jabs in the ring is a way for kids to not only pick up some boxing skills, but also valuable life skills.

“It’s not about physical skills, it’s not about balance and punching, and defenses and offense, this is about skills these kids will take later on in life,” explains South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski at the showcase.

That’s the core mission of the South Bend Police Athletic League, using boxing to create a controlled space for kids to blow off steam and leave it between the ropes.

“We teach them to use boxing as a mechanism to control your emotions and overall personal growth,” explains Jaquelin Navarrete, a coach with South Bend PAL.

Navarrete knows firsthand how boxing can enhance your skillset and motivation, getting started in the program eight years ago.

She now coaches kids who come through the program, teaching resilience and confidence.

But it's the close relationship Jaquelin's built with police officers that she values most.

“We’re adjusting the perspective of, here are some officers, they’re your friends, they’re here to help you, and they’re also here to mentor you as well,” Navarrete says.

She hopes the kids boxing in the ring today will be the ones that are cheering them on from behind the ropes in several years; learning to fight for their community.

“I know that they will pour back that energy into more kids along the way,” says Navarrete.

You can visit southbendpal.org for more information on programs and ways your child can get involved.

Share this article: