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A letter from GYMU Boxing’s Founder, Coach Kelly Rich:
My name is Kelly Rich. I grew up in the Roosevelt housing projects on DeKalb Avenue and Lewis Avenue in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York; truly one of the toughest parts of Brooklyn. As a young kid I did well in school by achieving around a 95 average. However by the age of thirteen my father, Mr. Rich Sr., moved out drastically impacting me and my school work. My grades dropped to a 70 average. I was still able to finish school, and I was the only one out of seven children to do so. Through my early years as a teen I showed excellence in sports such as boxing, football, basketball, and running. However for some reason I felt that boxing changed my life more than anything else. Since I had no strong male role model to relate with the same interests as me I was not really motivated and did not fully apply myself to the things that came easy to me such as sports and education.
I always had strong leadership qualities. I always had a strong influence on kids and adults to help them finish school, follow their dreams, and put a hundred percent in what they do. It was rough for me to stay focus, mainly because I went through so much in my life. I lost my brother on February of 1995 to a long fight with AIDS. He was buried on Valentine’s Day. That very same year I lost my younger brother to street violence. He died the day after the million-man march. I then lost my mother in 1998 to a long three-year fight with breast cancer. That same week I lost my father to cancer as well. It was rough but through my testimony I still manage to inspire people that they can make it.
I have created this boxing program with the sole purpose of inspiring other people. Not only do kids and adults learn how to box, keep a healthy life by exercising and dieting properly, and be respectful of oneself and the people who surround them, but they also learn true values. Our boxing students are required to do well in school; if they do not then they are not allowed to participate in the program. I make sure it happens by attending their open school nights.
GYMU keeps kids and young adults off the streets and out of gangs, away from using and/or selling drugs. Our program helps people become more than just statistics, we help them achieve success. One of our kids has discovered that he is a good actor, and according to his drama teacher he is one of the best amateur actors she has seen in years. Another one of our kids has improved his grade from the 70s to 100s. These are just a few of the effects GYMU has on people. Parents always thank us for helping their kids, and that’s a beautiful feeling.
GYMU keeps healthy relationships with people like Elena Makau, a well respected lawyer who takes care of all our legal business, Doctor Roberto, an excellent chiropractor who takes care of the boxer’s aches and pains, and Angel Lopez, a local detective in the 94 Precinct that helps us keep safety in the area. These are just a few names to list and we appreciate their help.
In closing, we would like to thank the people that put their heart and souls into GYMU Boxing.
Thank you for your interest and support. It is greatly appreciated.