From a distance sounds of jumping rope are heard against the pavement. The clicks only get louder as you approach Rigo Ávila’s garage.
More than a dozen children seek air and quickly wipe the sweat from their eyebrows. They are focused on the laser during the warm-up of the rope at AVILA Victory Boxing.
Avila started the Monterey County nonprofit organization three years ago to avoid trouble for the Greenfield youth.
“Growing up in a small town with limited resources makes it easy to get into trouble with the law,” Avila said. “I wanted to create something that would give youth a different choice rather than the wings we were limited to.”
AVILA Victory Boxing is a year-round program that offers children and teens the opportunity to develop new skills through boxing and training. Avila hopes to attract new funding and community support to grow its nonprofit organization.
Overcoming “street pressure”
Avila grew up in Greenfield and was harassed at a young age. He said he found security in a punching bag his mother got him.
School bullying came to Ávila in different ways: verbal and physical. He hit the punching bag, imitating boxing legends Julio César Chávez and Oscar De La Hoya.
“Street pressure is hard for a child when your parents are farm workers and work long hours,” Avila said. “Sometimes it wasn’t easy to find guidance.”
At one point, Avila was trained by a professional wrestler, but never had a local gym to improve his skills. Hence his passion for opening a gym in his hometown.
Discipline, improved self-esteem, and physical and mental well-being have become building blocks that have led Avila to continue practicing boxing.
AVILA means ambition, courage, integrity, loyalty and achievement.
“Boxing changes behavior for the better and improves your mental focus,” Avila said.
He directs AVILA Victory Boxing with the help of his fiancée, Karina Ramires, who acts as secretary and treasurer.
Its mission is to build, promote and foster a positive outlook through physical training programs for all youth and adults. Avila believes that boxing can help students shape their body and mind through techniques focused on self-discipline, commitment, and resilience.
One of the most important lessons that boxing students learn is discipline, he added.
Peter Perez is one of many teenagers attending the show. The 14-year-old aspires to graduate from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
“I love it here. It’s part of my routine. I avoid other plans to come here. It’s very tiring but a rewarding experience,” Perez said. This is a great opportunity for me and the people of Greenfield. ”
Perez is one of about 70 children in Monterey County who benefit from the nonprofit organization. Avila hopes more children can tie their gloves in their gym.
Traveling the distance
AVILA Victory Boxing works from a garage, which means students have limited space to train.
With three punching bags, some speedbags, a bench and a set of weights, Ávila has to be strategic in his planning. Each student takes time to work in the garage using the boxing and speed bags. They also shade the box (drain with an imaginary opponent) and do exercises on the sidewalk.
Last week, Ávila learned that he is one step closer to moving to a larger facility on 4th Street.
City officials said the building was being leased to a different tenant, which prevented Avila from moving immediately.
A commercial cannabis business was initially allowed to operate outside the building. The city had to terminate the lease with the business and is now moving forward with AVILA Victory Boxing.
“We’re just processing this like we would any other project that, with a change of occupation, we have to make sure it complies with the California Building Code,” said Paul Mugan, Greenfield’s community development director. “That’s the only outstanding issue … We really support (AVILA Victory Boxing) and we try our best to make it happen. I think it’s great for the community.”
Funding for the nonprofit was another challenge.
Most of the boxing equipment used by students is provided and funded through community donations. From now on, Ávila sets the prices on which families can pay. There is still no set number cost to attend boxing classes.
Scholarships are also offered for students who have overcome extreme struggles and continue to achieve their academic and personal goals. Scholarships are open to all high school students in Greenfield.
“As a non-profit organization, we face several challenges in gaining the support of the community we serve,” Avila said. “Much of our financial support has come from ourselves, the students and their parents. Our hope is to get the support of the City of Greenfield. The City has assured us that they are working on allocating funds to support the program.”
Meanwhile, Avila created one GoFundMe.com page to help with some of the costs.
New students are free to watch a lesson and, if they like it, encourage them to fill out an application.
AVILA Victory Boxing welcomes anyone five years of age or older.
Classes are held Monday through Thursday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Ávila also offers individual training with students to break down the basics of boxing from footwork, head movement, combinations, glove work, and more.
David Rodriguez is the education reporter and staff photographer for The Salinas Californian. For any tips or story ideas, you can send an email to [email protected] Subscribe to support local journalism.
Boxer Rigo Avila fights to expand AVILA Victory Boxing gym Source link Boxer Rigo Avila fights to expand AVILA Victory Boxing gym