APTN National News
The East Side Boxing Club in Vancouver is gaining popularity in teaching the Indigenous community new skills.
The club is located in Chinatown and includes participants at the beginner level to advanced.
Serina Jack is just 160 cm tall and 19 years old but has been enjoying training there for the last year and a half.
She is taking advantage of the free training offered to Aboriginal youth through a community partnership that includes organizations like the Urban Native Youth Association and the Network of Inner City Community Services Society.
She said it’s made a huge impact on her life.
“All the coaches here, they are truly amazing,” said Jack. “They went out of their way just to help Aboriginal youth and you never really see that. They don’t look at us in a bad way, they look at us in a way that they can believe in us. They help us come here and also go to school.”
She has big dreams of one day becoming a personal trainer and professional boxer.
The owner Dave Shuck is a boxer himself.
He said they’ve never tuned anyone away who couldn’t afford to train.
Especially with an urgent need in the community to help women and youth, he jumped on board to help.
“I have an after school program and what it is is we provide nutritious meals, mentoring, boxing training and access to doctors, nurses and stuff like that for the kids in the downtown eastside,” said Shuck.
“The program surpassed what I thought it would do. I thought we would have five or six kids that showed up routinely, but we are getting 25 to 30 kids a session.”
They also offer free self defense classes every second Wednesday evening to women and members of the LGBQT community.
Well known murdered and missing women’s advocate Lorelei Williams along with a few of her dancers from her dance troupe, Butterflies in Spirit are a few of those that are benefiting.
“I hope empowering myself and other women we can knock out violence!” said Williams.