Interactive Marketing Director
Yesterday afternoon I was able to spend a bit of time with eight Young Leaders and two-dozen great kids at the PAL Boxing Center. Out of all of United Way of Salt Lake’s Neighborhood Centers, the PAL Boxing Center is unique. In the matter of two hours the center goes from the quiet hum of students working on homework with Young Leader tutors, to the energetic sounds, sights, and smells of a boxing ring! The place is a hive of activity!
Unless you have the chance to visit the PAL Boxing Center for yourself, I’m not sure that you can quite appreciate how fantastic the staff and kids are at this place. It does not have the feel of a “program” or “center”, but rather like a little family. Kids are laughing, the staff knows each kid by name and the air is almost electric with positive energy. I was able to talk with a police officer hanging out at the center. He shared that he follows these kids around for over seven hours a day. All day at school, and then in the afternoon and evening at the Center. The officer pointed out one kid who previously had been in trouble with the law several times. Since this student got into boxing his grades are up and he is no longer getting into mischief. The officer said, “these are really good kids.” Looking around, I could feel that his words were true.
I have the greatest job ever, because I get to look at situations and events from behind the lens of a camera. Walking around taking pictures I couldn’t help but take a minute to sit back and soak it all in… I know it sounds cheesy but I got a little teary. I was watching eight successful young professionals from our Young Leaders spend valuable moments of their day showing these kids that they were important, that they mattered, that they had value. And I got to watch two dozen kids who are going to have a chance at a successful life. They are getting the help they need with school, they are spending time with adults who are positive mentors, and they are involved in a sport that keeps them motivated to do well. I was lucky enough to witness this sliver in time from behind my camera. I have to say that the PAL staff, Young Leaders, and these great kids–are an awesome reminder of the best of what makes us human.