La Quinta resident Brendan Kelly founded the Academy Boxing Club with the goal of teaching kids more than just how to fight. He wanted to help at-risk kids become productive members of society and keep them from making bad decisions. "You know, they have nothing," said Kelly. "They come from nothing, backgrounds you don't even want to hear about. They're just being chipped away and chipped away and all we want to do is build them back up. Get them out into society, give them a fighting chance, they don't have one, and nobody's going to give them one."
With the help of his friend David Chandler of the Coachella Valley Security Academy, Kelly was able to provide many kids with a chance to better themselves. He began to teach them how to box, but in the process taught them how to be better people. "It's not just a program where we're teaching kids to fight and box and go out into the street and box, that's not it at all," said Chandler. "We're character building here. That's what we're doing, trying to change the minds of the kids."
Academy Boxing Club works jointly with Stepping Stones, a school for at-risk kids in the Coachella Valley. The program has become extremely popular with the students and it is having a clear positive effect. "All the kids we have are 'A' and 'B' students," said Darrin Erb, the director of the program. "They help their community. They do community service hours to earn the right to be able to get the transportation over once a week to be able to do the boxing. "
The Boxing Club has expanded over the last six months, but recently they had to close their original location. They shared a building with the Academy Firing Range, but when the Range closed due to financial problems, the Boxing Club was left homeless. Chandler recently found a new location for the Boxing Club to move to, but the team still faces challenges. "They need help, we're going to paint the walls we're going to do the floors, we want to build a place where mothers can come and let their kids run around and play," said Kelly.
If you would like to donate to the Academy Boxing Club go to our "Seen on 3" section for more information.