SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA) — Some steps we take in life corner us into conflict. Freeing ourselves from that conflict isn’t always simple nor easy. Many times we don’t have the answers that could help us when times get tough. For Springdale youth, there’s now an outlet to help them channel their energy into something positive.
It might seem counterintuitive at first — using a seemingly violent sport to knock out violence on the streets. But Hunger & Action Boxing Gym is proving it works.
“If I want to fight, honestly I just come here. And, I come here every day. Just stay out of trouble and be a better person,” said Cruz Delgado, a boxing student at Hunger & Action.
The 17-year-old is one of the dozens of kids who have made this East Springdale boxing gym their second home. “I used to run around the streets and fight. It’s such a low thing to do,” said Delgado. “Everything it teaches me outside the ring is to always stay motivated, always strive for something,” he said.
Tito Navarrete opened the gym in January and his gratitude is changing lives.
“Every day it’s “Thank you, God, for this place.” when I unlock the doors in the mornings,” said Navarrete, “My mission is just when they come in just to leave a better person, a healthier person, a happier person, and give that good energy to others out there.”
Titos’ passion for using uppercuts and jabs to get kids on the right path is thanks to former boxer and Elkins native, Robert Lowrimore. The boxing coach built a boxing gym in his backyard decades ago to help kids off the streets. Tito was one of his students.
“I was always getting into some type of trouble, always getting into something not good but with him, I channeled my energy into something positive,” aid Navarrete
Now both men are continuing the legacy of giving back together.
“I think this is the key to giving them somewhere, giving them a family foundation, giving them something to fall back on, to know people here care about them,” said Robert Lowrimore, who is now a boxing coach at Hunger & Action. He not only teaches students but also helps the other coaches improve their coaching techniques.
Another show of love and compassion is seen in the fact that kids who can’t afford the gym fee – don’t have to pay.
“I think it empowers everyone. It teaches everyone so don’t be afraid always strive for something, regardless if it’s boxing if you want to become a scientist if you want to become a doctor. Always strive,” said Delgado.
Delgado now has a fierce hunger and is taking action to graduate high school and become a boxing pro.
“it’s beautiful, it’s a beautiful blessing,” said Navarrete.
Tito and his Hunger & Action co-owner both work full-time jobs and still operate the gym seven days a week, mornings and evenings.
They get help from the community to keep their doors open. If you’d like to support their mission give the gym a call.