Teens growing up in troubled neighborhoods often find themselves drawn into seedy situations against their will. Whether it is peer pressure, or a feeling of despair for the future, many of today's youth fall prey to the allures of gangs, violence, and drugs. One of the most effective ways to circumvent this calamity is by making sure these kids stay active in after-school programs.
One of the best activities for children and teens to participate in are the fitness programs held in their schools or local gyms. There are neighborhood fitness centers like these all across the nation. Their success stories never cease to inspire. Whether it is boxing, basketball, or badminton, studies have shown that after-school activities dramatically lower incidence rates of violence and crime amongst teens.
Chicago, as an example, has been infamously battling youth violence over the past few years. There have even been appeals to President Obama to intervene for the safety of his home-town. Thankfully, these after-school programs are fighting youth violence, while at the same time improving students' grades in school; giving them the edge they need to succeed in life.
Programs like ones organized by Tony DiVittorio at the (Mixed Martial Arts) MMA Club at Clemente Achievement Academy High-School in Chicago are perfect examples of the preventative power of these clubs. DiVittorio saw the trouble that teens in his neighborhood were getting in to, and wanted to make a difference. He had tried contacting the schools about such a program 10 years ago, but school officials argued that it would only promote more violence. Fortunately- since those ten years have passed- teachers and parents have changed their stance after seeing the benefits of these programs first-hand.
Take a look at the case of a young man named Bryan Gomez. Bryan was constantly getting in trouble with teachers, failing his classes, and hanging out in the streets. His parents were pressuring him to find a positive direction in life. Bryan received the guidance he needed from a chance meeting with Tony during one of his Youth Guidance visits to the school.
"Mixed [martial arts] gave me a type of discipline that added to my life. Like, my family, my cousins and brothers... one of my brothers did real bad in life, ended up in jail. My other cousin is in gangs. The discipline MMA brought me made me look at my surroundings and people differently."DiVittorio not only helped Gomez with his training, but also helped him get a job. Bryan is now thinking of becoming a police officer someday, and hopes to inspire kids the way that DiVittorio inspired him and saved him from the streets.
Gyms and stories like this exist all over the nation. It is incredibly important to support programs like these. These organizations improve the lives of the children enrolled in it, while at the same time decreasing rates of crime and violence in their surrounding neighborhoods. Unfortunately, due to the recent recession, much of the funding to these programs via state and federal grants has been slashed. Often times these gyms depend on donations to purchase MMA gloves to help them prepare for matches. That is why it is so vital to recognize how crucial these programs are to our communities around the nation, and the world.
Alexia is a self-described sports-nut. She particularly enjoys martial arts. As a result, she joined up with MMA Industries- retailers of highly popular MMA clothing and training equipment. Alexia has been blogging about the latest trends in MMA gear for the past few years, and continues to provide you with the latest news in the MMA universe.