ATLANTIC CITY – Twenty Atlantic City girls and boys will be awarded grants to participate in an after-school boxing program, funded by a $65,000 grant from the attorney general’s office and State Athletic Control Board to the Atlantic City Police Athletic League.
The program, which will run from 3:30-6:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, will provide an educational, social, and recreational outlet to children ages 11 to 15. The children must reside and attend school in disadvantaged and high-crime neighborhoods to be eligible.
The program will begin in September and run for one year.
Qualified participants will compete in monthly amateur boxing competitions, with the possibility of competing nationally and internationally.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and SACB Commissioner Larry Hazzard Sr. hope the program will steer participants into healthy choices and away from gangs and violence.
“The $65,000 we are awarding to this boxing and life skills program is an investment in 20 young people and the promise each of them holds if their best qualities are nurtured,” Grewal said. “It’s an investment in building a safer Atlantic City, not by making more arrests, but by encouraging young residents to choose healthy recreation over the street, and career exploration over gang exploitation. By training and mentoring these youths, the ACPAL will deliver a message to other youths in the community that there are positive alternatives.”
Hazzard Sr. agreed.
“We couldn’t be more delighted and appreciative that Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has delivered a knockout award to Atlantic City,” Hazzard Sr. said. “When the SACB first envisioned this type of youth boxing program in 2002, it was our dream to touch the lives of young boxers around the state. We relied on the boxing community to get us off the ground on a small scale. But, it takes a village to raise a child and I cannot thank General Grewal enough for his dedication and commitment to the betterment of our youth; our most precious commodity. We know that investing in growth and development of young people secures a brighter future for them and the community at large. I can personally attest to this concept as a tried and true formula from my own humble beginnings to my personal successes, today. We are honored and very proud to be a part of this winning team. This is government and the community working together at its best!”
Atlantic City Police Chief Henry White Jr. thanked both men for the funding.
“With the additional money, we will be able to expand our youth boxing program here at PAL. Our theme at ACPD is, the more we invest in our youth, the more we are investing in our future,” White said.