Popeye’s Boxing Gym offers affordable boxing, fitness classes for children, families in Akron

Popeye’s Boxing Gym offers affordable boxing, fitness classes for children, families in Akron
Popeye’s Boxing Gym offers affordable boxing, fitness classes for children, families in Akron

AKRON, Ohio – On any given Monday, Tuesday or Thursday night, you’ll find 2017 Summit County Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Eddie “Popeye” Richardson coaching at his gymnasium in Akron. But he doesn’t have a combat on the books, at the least not a combat within the conventional sense. Instead, he’s coaching youngsters, adults and households from various backgrounds how to reach the ring and in life.

For somewhat over a 12 months, Richardson, 61, has operated Popeye’s Boxing Gym at 1489 Kelly Ave. in Akron. Prior to that, the gymnasium was positioned in North Akron for 15 years, he stated. What units Popeye’s other than different gyms is it’s a 501c3 group. And all of its coaches are volunteers. This helps maintain lessons inexpensive for households, in keeping with Richardson, who fees members simply $20 per 30 days for limitless lessons and lets dad and mom prepare with their youngsters without spending a dime.

“I do know a whole lot of dad and mom are struggling out right here, and I’m not in it for the cash. It’s not even concerning the gymnasium. I figured if we will get in right here and save a child’s life out right here in these streets, so be it,” he stated.

The lessons are full-body exercises designed round boxing, in keeping with Craig Haines, the CEO of operations who additionally coaches on the gymnasium. The lessons are open to anybody from ages 4-5 and up, no matter health degree or capability. Approximately 30-40 folks attend class every night they’re provided, and Richardson says the gymnasium has at the least 70 members. Optional sparring time is obtainable earlier than class, he stated.

“There is a distinction between a boxing gymnasium and boxing,” Richardson stated. “We have each issues right here. But ours is extra like a household as a result of it’s exhausting to, you probably have 5-6 youngsters, take every child to a special sport. Here, the dad and mom can work out without spending a dime with the youngsters.”

Though dad and mom can work out similtaneously their youngsters, they’re on the opposite aspect of the gymnasium, Haines stated.

“We have folks from all walks of life. But all of them come away with the identical factor: it’s about household. It’s about understanding as a crew. The guys and ladies on the gymnasium deal with one another like brothers and sisters. Everybody goes via the identical grind of a exercise,” Haines stated.

Gym members prepare with velocity baggage at Popeye’s Boxing Gym. (Courtesy of Craig Haines)

Classes for neighborhood members eager about boxing competitively are provided on Wednesday evenings and Saturdays, in keeping with Richardson.

“We flip no person away. Nobody is a loser in my eyes. We don’t supply particular person coaching, all people works out collectively,” Richardson stated.

Recently, Haines has seen a rise within the variety of girls coaching on the gymnasium.

“We’re about 60 p.c feminine,” he stated. “The girls are actually rising the gymnasium as a result of they arrive in and so they all say the very same factor, ‘I need to shed extra pounds,’ and by week two, it’s, ‘I like this’ and by week three, ‘I really feel so a lot better at work/faculty, the issues that bothered me bounce off of me. I’ve a lot extra confidence now.’”

The gymnasium not too long ago acquired a $3,000 aggressive well being and human providers grant from the Akron Community Foundation. The funds might be used to pay the lease, in keeping with Richardson. The grant, although useful, will cowl only one month of the gymnasium’s lease, he stated.

“I pay $2,000 a month for the constructing I’m in,” stated Richardson, who additionally owns and operates ENK Auto Sales and ENK Detailing in Suffield Township.

Quarterly grants permitted by the Akron Community Foundation’s board complete $5 million, $722,609 of which have been aggressive well being and human providers grants. It’s the biggest distribution for this grant course of within the basis’s historical past, in keeping with the neighborhood basis.

“We have been very lucky to have nice assist from our donor-advised fundholders — that’s one purpose why we had extra {dollars} this time round. We share all of the functions with our donor-advised fundholders and we ask them to co-invest with us. Being that well being and human providers is likely one of the greatest wants and largest cycles that now we have, now we have nice participation from our donor suggested fundholders which might be supporting this system,” Vice President of Community Investment John F. Garofalo stated.

After Akron Community Foundation workers evaluate grant functions, vetted functions go to the donor-advised fundholders for evaluate. If fundholders have an interest, they will make investments with the neighborhood basis. The Akron Community Foundation’s board of administrators and Community Investment Committee members evaluate the grant functions and work with the workers to provide you with numbers to assist that group, in keeping with Garofalo.

“We’re seeing an increasing number of that these smaller, unconventional neighborhood teams are actually making a distinction in these youngsters’ lives — and that is one instance. They noticed that the applications that Popeye’s offers is one thing that’s invaluable to those youngsters who’re going via this system and so they noticed it as a singular strategy to assist this system via what Popeye’s is designed to do, which is to actually make the youngsters higher residents in the neighborhood,” he stated.

Local companies have additionally helped the gymnasium by donating lumber, {hardware} and exercise tools, together with Carter Lumber, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Apex Electric. Gym members have additionally donated tools, and one member constructed the gymnasium an internet site without spending a dime, in keeping with Haines.

“The greatest factor we’d like proper now could be cash for lease. We pay $24,000 in lease per 12 months. If we have been capable of get folks to assist us with a few of that, we may open up the gymnasium extra days and volunteer extra time,” Haines stated.

Community members eager about donating to the gymnasium can achieve this on the Popeye’s Boxing Gym website.

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