Posted 7:15 AM 5/23/2012 : Tucson non-profit boxing gym fighting to stay open
TUCSON- A boxing gym for at risk youth is fighting to stick around.
New owners took over the 6th Street Gym about a month ago because the previous owner could no longer afford it. But now the new owners are realizing that they too might be outmatched when it comes to the money.
It's bad news for 23-Year-Old Carlos Castillo. The boxer has been going to the gym almost every day for the past three years.
"I lift weights, we spar, I hit the bags," Castillo says.
He has been boxing for 13 years, but these days when he laces up his shoes and puts on his gloves, it's not all about the fight. "This place keeps me out of trouble and it shows me a better path, rather than just hanging out on the streets," Castillo says. He's one of hundreds of so called "at risk youth" who use the non-profit gym to stay grounded.
"Without this place they would literally be stranded," Co-Owner David Shale-McCarthney says.
But it's a possibility now because of a recent financial beat down. "We're looking at a budget of needing about $100,000 just to get it into a position that it can give these kids a much better and safer environment to train in," Shale-McCarthney says.
Some of the gym's equipment is more than 20 years old. "The rings are mostly in need of repair," Shale-McCarthney says.
He's now working with a grant writing team and other local organizations to keep the gym's finances in tip top shape. But it's going to take a lot more help to stay in the ring. The gym needs more volunteers and coordinators.
"Everyone's in here working, everybody's sharing ambitions about where they want to be, they have hopes and dreams and this is the place to start," Castillo says.
Which is why he hopes this is one fight the gym can win.
If you'd like to help keep the 6th Street Gym running you can visit its website, www.6thstreetgym.com. You can also contact David Shale-McCarthney at (520) 241-4201.
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