The Grades for Gloves program is tailored for registered USA Boxers that are between elementary school and high school. The mission of the program is to encourage academic success through providing quality equipment for the kids. I’ve witnessed first hand the level of dedication and fortitude these young fighters exhibit day in and day out. When all of their classmates are out playing in the park or at home playing video games our fighters are hard at work. Often they are found pounding a heavy bag or doing a few rounds on the boxing mitts with Coach Harold Petty.I can best depict this dedication through a story of a young fighter name Quinci.

It was a particularly bland afternoon as I walked into the always humid boxing gym located at 1410 S. Tucker in St. Louis, MO. Amongst the sound of pattering speed bags, consistent skips of the ropes and ringing of the bell I am welcomed with a familiar voice. “Hey Marty where you been at dude, are you coming to my next fight, expelled Quinci.”  This time I would have more than the typical update to provide. Unbeknownst to young Quinci I would be starting a program that he and his gym mates would soon all benefit from. “Aye dude I’m starting a program called #Grades4Gloves, I proclaimed. No sooner did I complete my update as Quinci returned, ” Wait so I all I have to do is make the honor roll and I get a pair of gloves. You can ask Coach I always make the A/B honor roll.” Over the course of the next few months I would always be greeted with smiles and cheerful updates that they are on track. Rather more commonly it was bluntly stated, “Where are my gloves at dude, because you know my grades are good.” While it seemed that the end of the quarter came over night; all of the homework assignments, quizzes, and book reports would soon be realized. The joy I felt the day the sponsor shipped the gloves was similar to a kid waking up on Christmas. The smiles witnessed on each of their faces; when they received the gloves meant everything.

I believe the benefit in the program goes beyond providing these young children with the tools to become world champion boxers. The value is providing the tools to strength their minds; unlocking talents and passions they other wise would not realize.