“If it were up to them, the kids would go to The Punch House every single day.”
Those are the words of Dr. Kelvin Fields, Education Coordinator at K.E.L.L.Y. Youth Services, a nonprofit organization that helps troubled children who are in and out of the foster care system. Dr. Kelvin recently partnered with Activities Beyond the Classroom’s KISR! (Kids in School Rule!) program to find a healthy, positive extracurricular activity for the some of the kids. ABC’s KISR! program provided seven children with a membership to The Punch House, and now, the kids are hooked.
“At The Punch House, we use boxing to teach people self-defense combined with physical fitness,” said Danny Calhoun, owner of The Punch House and former professional boxer. “But for the kids in KISR!, our programs offer much more. Our trainers become a mentor for the kids. As they teach them the art of boxing, they are actually empowering these children, and building up their self-confidence while helping them get in shape.”
That’s exactly what Dr. Fields was hoping for when he reached out to KISR! about a partnership. His role at K.E.L.L.Y. Youth Services is to help the kids via counseling, mentoring, and setting educational settings. He works with children ages 12-17, and through K.E.L.L.Y., provides safe and secure group and semi-independent homes.
“Our kids have lots of anger management issues. They come from drug-infested homes, and have seen domestic violence. They tend to have violent behaviors because that’s what they saw that at home. My hope is that through The Punch House, they will learn how to cope with their anger and how to channel their emotions in a healthy way,” he shared.
Mr. Calhoun is the person to make this happen. A former professional boxer, who was ranked #2 nationally by USA Boxing, Calhoun graduated from the University of Cincinnati where he played football for three years. He then attended the College of Business at Xavier, and after many years in the fitness industry, founded The Punch House.
“The KISR! kids work in a structured environment,” Calhoun said. “The workouts are designed specifically for them. They learn how to warm up and stretch, and learn various boxing combinations like a boxer would.”
He noted that one of the KISR! kids is going through the program for the second time and has shown tremendous emotional and physical improvements. “This particular child took full advantage of the program and ended up competing in boxing. You can tell when a kid tries an activity and falls in love; that’s how boxing was for this young man. We could see that he was inspired to work hard, and he practiced and got better every day.”
But he’s not the only one. Dr. Fields said “All of the kids participating in The Punch House program have a good time. They crave structure and want to get out and do something active. If it was up to them, they would go every single day.”