A San Diego Police sergeant is using boxing to give hope to kids living in less-affluent neighborhoods of the city.
"Imperial Boxing Youth Athletics" is Ruben Gutierrez's passion project. He says he loves mentoring kids and showing them that with education and hard work they can have a better life.
Gutierrez started coaching kids in boxing at the Logan Heights recreation center in 2014 when he decided to start his boxing club.
"I just saw a need out here that needed to be filled,” said Gutierrez. “I was contacting a lot of youth out here in the community and they said they didn't have a lot going on after school."
Gutierrez and his volunteers have worked with hundreds of kids throughout the years. All the kids who go to the boxing club are from the poorest communities in San Diego.
"We've seen kids come in that have been out of school since the age of 15. We've gotten them back in high school, we've gotten them graduated and now into college. We have young men and women who have graduated and transitioned into military life," said Gutierrez.
The kids need to have and maintain a good grade point average to keep participating in the club. Tutoring services are offered if a child falls behind in school. There are currently 29 kids in the program and they range from ages 6 to 18-years-old. Gutierrez doesn't charge and he pays for almost everything himself.
"We don't really ask for donations, it's something I really like to do from the heart. I think it makes a big difference in these kids’ lives, so the little bit I can give back to them is really what I try to do," said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez is always looking for mentors to speak to the kids about their lives, education, and careers. The boxing club does have a Facebook page where you can find out more information.