Alexandria Boxing Club knocks out community violence

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ALEXANDRIA, La. -- Every day after school, Peabody Magnet High School sophomore Elijah Dunbar runs to the Frank O Hunter Community Center.

But the reason is anything but routine.

Dunbar is one of the first member of the Alexandria Boxing Club, and has already won three amateur fights.

"I want to be a pro fighter," Dunbar said. "Some of the coaches want me to go to the Olympics and I do really want to go.

"I want to see the world mostly."

The club was founded by parks and recreation director Chris Patterson who noticed the need for an after school program in his community.

"There's a need here with some of the issues with street violence, and all of the things that have happened in the community," Patterson said.

"If it's just one, then that's one that we saved from the streets," Scott said. "Then we strive to get another one."

But the influence doesn't stop at the community level--it also continues at a personal level for the students.

"We have a homework help here at the gym," Patterson said. "It's a hand in hand thing, it's not just coming in and putting on some gloves."

"Education goes a long way," Scott said. "Boxing will only take you so far but education will take you further than anything you do in life."

Kayunta James also takes lessons at the Frank O Hunter Community Center after school, but started for a different reason than Dunbar.

"My mama kept telling me to get out of the house," James said. "Now, me and Elijah are practically best friends."

"Some people don't care about you, but these people here in Frank O Hunter, they care," Dunbar said. "I call these people family."

All students from ages 9 to 19 are invited to the Frank O Hunter Community Center every week day after school to learn to be champions inside and outside of the ring.

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