A new non-profit program in Middletown will use youth boxing and fitness to help local children lead a healthy lifestyle.
Steve Thompson, owner of IronDawgz Training Academy in Middletown, says he is starting the IronDawgz Kids Project to help local children find success, regardless of any adversity they may encounter.
“The program was started because there’s a need for a structured program in Middletown for kids who are low income, (who have) addicted parents, lack of education and (lack of) parental involvement, bullying and the list goes on and on,” Thompson said.
He said he was partly motivated to start the program because several youths expressed interest in joining his gym, which opened last December on Central Avenue, but their parents could not afford a membership.
“I don’t want to turn down a kid who actually wants to better him or herself mentally and physically due to the parents not being able to afford (a membership),” he said.
So what can children learn from boxing?
“Aside from the benefits of increased physical activity — stamina, endurance, and cardio — boxing improves a child’s coordination and decision-making abilities; children also experience the value of team effort,” Thompson said.
The IronDawgz Kidz Project, he said, will instill “a profound sense of discipline, order and respect.”
Youth participating in IronDawgz Kids Project are engaged in non-contact boxing, with none of the participants sparring with another boxer.
“(The program) is training children to become a success, not professional boxers,” he said. “We use training methods specifically designed for children and youth, and incorporate activities that foster teamwork and improve communication skills.”
Erin Brewer, of Franklin, said her 12-year-old son Jordan is “absolutely loving” the classes.
“Not only is it keeping the kids active, it helps kids like mine gain some confidence,” she said.
Brewer said Thompson is “truly an amazing man with an even more wonderful movement.”
“I know we’ve only been fully structured with classes for a little over a month now, but it’s a great feeling to know that we are making a difference,” Thompson said.
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For more information about the IronDawgz Kids Project, call 937-301-1446 or click here