For the past year, even in the midst of the pandemic, a Poughkeepsie-based boxing club has run a youth mentorship program, bringing together groups of local teens each week for training and training sessions. training, followed by open conversations on any topic.
The aim is to help reduce gun violence in the region by reaching out to still impressionable young people, offering them advice and advice from boxing coaches and, of course, teaching them self-defense.
“Now we want to show the kids something tangible,” said Kariym Patterson, owner of APJ Boxing. “People have taken the time to prepare and train hard, and we want to show them what this work can lead to. “
Patterson’s Gym hosted a boxing exhibit titled “Less Guns, More Boxing,” a 15-game showcase tournament on Saturday. The event, which kicks off at 2 p.m., will be held at the Family Partnership Center in Poughkeepsie. Tickets will be available on site, which can seat up to 600 people.
There will be participants from across the Mid Hudson Valley and as far away as Manhattan and Connecticut, representing different gyms with contestants as young as 9 years old. APJ coaches Ty Stokes and Emilio Torres will compete, as will three youngsters they have coached.
“It’s in response to the wave of gun violence around here,” Patterson said. “All too often we see children being murdered and most of the time it is by other children. As a community, we need to do everything we can to mitigate this and keep them away from crime.
“Maybe we can lure some young people into boxing, or at least give them a positive outlet to channel some of the aggression.”
This showcase is an extension of the work they did with the HOOK program, a six-week mentoring course for underprivileged youth that was led last year by Community Matters 2, a non-profit organization based in Poughkeepsie. . HOOK stands for “Helping Out Our Kids”. The idea was started in 2020 when two students from the Poughkeepsie City School District were gunned down.
“I posted videos on social media of the kids training for the event and the response has been overwhelming,” Patterson said. “A lot of people are excited about this. They want to see the guys from their hometown put on a show.
Stephen Haynes: [email protected], 845-437-4826, Twitter: @ StephenHaynes4