Latino State News
Chicago Youth Boxing Club Named Among Three World-Wide Finalists by BEYOND SPORT
Photo: CYBC Logo
Beyond Sport, the London-based global organization that promotes, develops and supports the use of sport to drive positive social change across the world, has announced that Chicago Youth Boxing Club (CYBC) has been included on the prestigious Shortlist for the Beyond Sport Awards 2011. By reaching this stage of the judging process, CYBC will travel to attend the third annual Beyond Sport Summit, taking place December 5th through 8th in Cape Town, South Africa. The Summit will be attended by multinational corporations, representatives from professional sports franchises, Olympic and professional athletes, and international civic and political leaders.
Chicago Youth Boxing Club, a nonprofit youth development organization, gives kids the confidence and discipline to defeat adversity and transcend limitations. Our after-school programming focuses on setting goals, strengthening resolve, and surpassing expectations. We accomplish this by engaging at-risk youth through high-quality coaching in the sports of amateur boxing and mixed martial arts. Through achieving their goals in these physically and mentally rigorous sports, our kids learn important life lessons that impact their academic and professional futures. They learn that excellence is a habit rather than a stroke of good fortune. CYBC helps kids orient themselves inside and outside the ring, focusing their attention on minimizing their vulnerability and maximizing the potency of their efforts. The CYBC gym is a safe haven and a second home for kids.
CYBC’s H2O for Mexico campaign engages youth in leadership and peace-building efforts that encourage water conservation, bring awareness to water scarcity, and build multi-cultural and multi-ethnic international cooperation in addressing water shortages, particularly in rural Mexico. CYBC is an organization that serves both athletes and immigrants. As athletes, CYBC youth are keenly aware of the value of adequate drinking water in achieving their physical goals and maintaining their health. Located in Chicago’s Little Village (La Villita) neighborhood—recognized as the Mexican-American capital of the Midwest—ninety percent of CYBC youth come from Mexican immigrant backgrounds, with their parents originating from primarily rural communities and coming to the United States to improve their families’ lives. Immigrants from rural communities in Mexico know that water, or the lack thereof, plays a central role in determining the viability of their communities of origin. Water plays an essential role not just in the daily lives of CYBC youth boxers, but may also have been a determining factor in the circumstances their families faced when making the difficult decision to emigrate.
The H2O for Mexico campaign has raised over $10,500 and supported the construction of 35 household level cisterns to catch rain water for drinking and cooking in the community of Tamaula, (Irapuato) Guanajuato. The campaign leveraged the support of 75 donors in three countries—France, Mexico, and the United States. Several other Chicago nonprofits participated in the campaign including Erie Neighborhood House and Poder Learning Center. The University of Notre Dame and Utah Valley University also partneredin this effort, along with our Mexico-based partner organization the Fundación Comunitaria del Bajío. Since the launch of the H20 for Mexico campaign in 2009, the total water storage capacity in Tamaula has increased 2.5 times, from 23,300 gallons to 64,060 gallons. Eighty (80) children in Tamaula (83%) are now living in households with at least one cistern. Previously, only 17 children (20%) lived in households with a cistern.
“The H20 for Mexico project represents a unique and innovative partnership that engages youth from Chicago and rural Mexico and demonstrates the impact that can be realized by investing in our young leaders and bringing them together toward a common goal”, said Karen May, President of CYBC. The Beyond Sport Award recognizes the power of sports to change lives, build community, and catalyze social change. “While we often hear stories about professional athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds who used sports as a pathway to opportunities that may not otherwise have been available, we do not often recognize the value of sports in the lives of local neighborhood kids. At CYBC, our kids have already made a global impact and improved the lives of people living without one of the most basic human needs—access to adequate and safe drinking water. They did not need to escape their humble roots, move out of their neighborhood, or become professional athletes with six-figure incomes in order to make a difference. We are extremely proud of what our small neighborhood boxing gym in Little Village has been able to achieve. How often do kids from Little Village or other neighborhoods like it get nominated for a global development award and be recognized in the same category as a professional sports league?” relates Karen May.
One of the CYBC youth who participated in the Mexico project is Kris Perez, an alumnus of the University of Notre Dame. He shares that “sports were the best incentive for me to do well in high school. To me boxing is not a brutal sport. Boxing is a form of self-defense that teaches discipline and builds a person’s self-confidence. It is both physical and mental. A person needs both to succeed in the sport, but also to excel in life. If you can dedicate yourself to a rigorous sport such as boxing, other obstacles in life will seem less difficult. I have learned that sport, in this case boxing, unites people and gives them hope.” Kris Perez is currently finishing a master’s program in sports management at Texas Tech University and remains a strong CYBC supporter. “CYBC is more than just a boxing gym. It is a safe haven, an advocate for education, and an instigator for positive change in the world. It is a door for the youth of Little Village in Chicago, and a door for the people whose lives they have touched in Mexico leading to progress,” says Perez.
Among the Beyond Sport finalists, 35 projects have been selected covering 18 countries, from Afghanistan and Nepal to Sierra Leone and the West Bank, and encompassing 22 different sports. CYBC is the only organization in Chicago to make the Shortlist, and among one of only five organizations representing the United States. The CYBC project is the only one among the Shortlist representing both Mexico and the United States. Among three final candidates for the Sport for the Environment Award, CYBC is accompanied in this category by the National Hockey League and the United Kingdom-based Blue Project. These shortlisted projects were chosen from close to 400 entries from more than 125 countries that submitted applications to this year’s Awards.
The Awards winners will be selected by an international panel of twenty-five Beyond Sport Ambassadors including such distinguished members as former Prime Minister Tony Blair , Senator Bill Bradley, NFL Super Bowl Champion Derrick Brooks, Pop Idol creator Simon Fuller, and Survivor Winner Ethan Zohn. Award winners will be announced on the final two days of the Summit in Cape Town this December. The successful projects in the six Beyond Sport Community Awards categories will receive a substantial package of international business support to help them grow and become sustainable in the future.
CYBC membership is open to youth—both male and female—ages 8 and older. We operate year-round during after school hours from 3:00pm to 8:00pm Monday thru Friday and provide over 6,500 hours annually of coaching.
For further information about Chicago Youth Boxing Club visit www.chicagoyouthboxingclub.org