Boxing Gym Serves As Community Hub

Boxing Gym Serves As Community Hub


(upbeat hip hop music) – [Deonte] Like I just remember how I was. I was hot-headed, I had a bad temper. I didn’t wanna hear
anything anybody had to say. Dalton was making sure
that I stayed in the gym, making sure I got up in
the morning, did my runs, making sure I was just in the
gym even if I didn’t work out. He just didn’t want me on the streets. Boxing showed me to really
cherish life and cherish rewards when you earn them and
you work hard for them. And that feeling that you get,
that thrill, that excitement, you wanna continue to have
those types of highlights and moments in your
life where you’re happy. And boxing, it makes me happy. – [Dalton] I started the business in 2011. I graduated from college in 2009. So in between that window,
I was working various jobs that I just didn’t find
any fulfillment with. I decided to open my own
gym and open an organization that not only was just a boxing gym, but also more to the community. Element Gym is a co-working and collaborative benefit corporation. Boxing and fitness, and arts
hub in the Midway, St. Paul. The values that we started
with consisted of community. We wanted to develop community
and bring people together through the sport of boxing. Whether you wanted to
become a world champion or you just wanted to
learn the fundamentals and use it for exercise. Collaboration was another
one of those values that were very important to us. Working with other organizations, partnering with the county,
partnering with the city, partnering with other micro-organizations, and our non-profits, we actually
serve more than 500 youth on a monthly basis through our programs that we offer here in our space and/or programs that we do off-site. Left, left
– can we do it fast – A little slower, come
on. Look you’re open. How you gonna do it fast if
you’re open?Come on,hands up.Go. We do have a lot of minority youth. At risk, underserved population
of youth that come from like the Frogtown area.The same
community that I grew up in. And they come here and we
offer them scholarships. Especially for the low
income families that can’t afford our gym prices. We
don’t turn anyone away. So we have a kids boxing
class where our youth are able to come in and learn
fundamental boxing from myself and or our other coaches. Not only helps them
learn a craft or a skill, but it also helps them
with their discipline. It helps them bring confidence
in themselves and build it up to where they can use that
crossing over into school or crossing over into the work place. So it challenges you. It pushes you beyond what
your expectations are. And or what you think you can do. And that’s that drive and that’s that dedication that it takes. When you really want something you gotta put forth that effort no
matter what obstacles are in your way and boxing can teach you that. I’ve seen a lot of changes
with a lot of our youth, who some are now adults. They come back to me on a daily
basis and they say how much our gym has done for them. Go hard guys! Push
yourself, push yourself. You should be tired when you get done. If you’re not tired when
you get done you didn’t push yourself hard enough. Ready?Go! Come on. Give me that twist, good twist. Three, two, one. Time,
time, time. Good job guys. Becoming a social benefit
corporation was very attractive because it allowed us the
opportunity to showcase our brand and showcase our mission. All within a structured entity. Being able to put that
benefit corporation tag on our name showed that we are bought in. We are really about what
we are trying to do. And it helps hold us accountable
to say that we are gonna do what we say we’re gonna do. So when we say that we wanna
create long term sustainable programs, we make sure we create those. And make sure that their
showcased inside of the work that we do. There is a lot of
misconception about, I think, benefit corporations and
or social enterprises, that you can’t focus on bottom line in sense of social impact and profits. I think that you can do both. And I think that one
compliments the other. When customers or people
see what you’re trying to do and they feel what you’re
feeling and their socially conscious and they understand
the impact that you’re trying to create, they feel a sense of belonging. They actually want to contribute more. They want to be a part. They want to help out in any capacity, beyond even being a customer. I would say that social
enterprise is the future of our economy because the world depends on it. I’m passionate about the
work that I do because I came from these same streets. I came
from the same neighborhood. I came from this community. The same community that I’m serving. The same youth that I’m serving. I look at those guys and I
see myself and I know that I personally wouldn’t be where
I am today if it wasn’t for those same leaders,
those same organizations that existed to impact. So I feel obligated to continue
to do the work that I do. And I feel that pursuing
and continuing to drive my purpose as a human being on
this earth by trying to create more and more impact.
More and more programs. More and more opportunities for our youth of our future generation.