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DESIGNING FOR DETROIT: DOWNTOWN BOXING GYM YOUTH PROGRAM

Drawn to the special combination of Detroit, Sports and Design, ROSSETTI has dedicated full design services to the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program. The new facility will be unveiled in April and will host the 2015 USA Junior Olympic Boxing Championships.

The Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program was started in 2007 by founder Carlo “Coach Khali” Sweeney. Coach Khali developed the program so neighborhood children had a place to go after school. Boxing is the hook; education, athletics, and community are the forces that drive the program and its success. 



ROSSETTI's involvement with DBG arose as the program began looking for a new facility to accommodate future growth and expanded programming. Creative Director, Kelly Deines led a team of designers who pledged their time to design the new Eastside location. The old gym was housed in an auto body shop and felt overcrowded with just 20 people inside. With upwards of 60 kids currently in the program, and a goal of accommodating 300 in the near future, DBG needed to more than double their square footage. ROSSETTI's design for the new 30,000sf space, formerly a book binding shop, has utilitarian influences and will make creative use of the buildings prevalent raw materials. 

ROSSETTI led DBG through a series of discover and visioning sessions to explore the brand and better understand the programming needs for the new space. Aligning with the organization's mission, the facility will function first and foremost as an academic and civil structure, with athletics as a secondary component. Flexible classroom/study space supports a variety of scholarly functions without "looking like school."  The Champions Wall will integrate and highlight  boxing, academia and community achievements. Bold graphics throughout the interior and exterior fully engage the new branding developed by the team. 

ABOUT DOWNTOWN BOXING GYM YOUTH PROGRAM 

Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program (DBGYP) develops good citizenship in urban youth through a demanding boxing program, strong academic support and a connection to the community through voluntary service. 
Poverty, crime, food insecurity, lack of education, decreased physical fitness and poor health – these are issues that DBG students face daily. Nearly all DBG students come from Detroit’s Eastside, one of the city’s toughest neighborhoods, and 94% come from families below the poverty line.

Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program has a powerful academic focus, while boxing provides the daily discipline of mental and physical fitness. The kids develop a strong sense of themselves and learn how to rely on one another in a team environment. Studies support what our staff has discovered: students who consistently participate in the after-school program earn better grades, have improved conflict resolution skills, stay out of trouble, and become physically fit.

 

"Books before Boxing"
Academics are at the heart of the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program. Before the students step into the training room, they hit the books with a tutor. Each student has an individualized plan of achievement. The program also teaches life skills including interview preparation and conflict resolution. In the first year, students see an improvement, on average, of at least one letter grade. Most have at least a 3.0 GPA. To date, 100% of DBG’s students have graduated high school, and 96% of our students have continued their education in college. The remaining 4% are either in trade school or employed full time.

Boxing + Mentoring
Like any sport, boxing creates a discipline of mental and physical fitness. Each day after school -- under the guidance of Coach Khali and volunteer coaches -- the kids train their bodies and their minds for the ring. The kids learn how to communicate, resolve conflicts and celebrate successes together as a team. The program is unique in that it encourages parents to participate as a child’s “head coach,” strengthening family bonds.

Community: Create Engage + Develop
The Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program is free to Detroit children aged 7-18, but all students participate in community service projects. Citizenship is one of the program's three pillars, with a belief that volunteerism is part of developing the whole child. DBG kids have worked with Forgotten Harvest in their warehouse and on their farm, played baseball with The Miracle League, and cleaned up the surrounding neighborhood.

The new facility will help create a safe and productive space for Detroit kids from the toughest neighborhoods,engage their families to become partners in their coaching and community, and develop strategic neighborhood partnerships with other businesses, organizations, and individuals, thus improving the quality of life for people who reside in the neighborhood.

For more information http://downtownyouthboxing.org/