Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Sun, January 29 2012 at 9:58 PM, Updated: Mon, January 30 2012 at 8:12 AM
Kids at the Venue Community Civic Center in Medford have big dreams.
"I have a dream of becoming a professional boxer and I'm going to reach that goal, you better remember to watch me on Pay-Per-View," laughed 14-year-old Jonathan Alarcon-Anaya.
Alarcon-Anaya is only one of the more than 50 kids who see the boxing program at the Venue as something more than just a sport. 15-year-old Daniel Saldivar-Anaya said he was a bit of a trouble maker before he discovered boxing.
"I really didn't care about school but after this I knew that I had to improve my grades to stay in this program," said Saldivar-Anaya.
But many parents are unable to pay the $30 per month it costs to enroll a child. With little money rolling in and a roughly $20,000 monthly overhead, the program's future is unclear.
"Every month we're continually having to raise money," began Masao Williams, overseer of the boxing program and Founder of the Venue.
"You know our overhead alone is one of the biggest problems we face right now," he continued.
Williams said the boxing program is a positive outlet for kids in the community...keeping them out of trouble and connecting them with positive role models and mentors.
One of those mentors is 28-year-old Thomas Moore, who as a kid was involved in boxing as well.
"It did keep me away from negative situations. I think that having boxing or any type of sport keeps you more focused on the positive things. It gives you something to look forward to," said Moore.
He continued, "It's definitely getting the kids out of troubled situations. I feel like we're doing something great for the community, I want to keep it going, definitely want to see it flourish."
That sentiment is mirrored by the kids. Every weekend they collect cans for recycling. All of it, in an effort to raise money and try to keep their program alive.
If you would like to donate to the boxing program in need of financial help, you can stop by the Venue, located at 1020 Narregan Street in Medford. Or you can also call 541-324-8008.
Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.
Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.
Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.
Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.