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Local gym owner teaches Indy youth conflict resolution through boxing

Posted at 11:10 PM, Sep 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-08 15:52:09-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A summer program to keep kids safe has grown into something bigger. Personal trainer Mike Ford, joined the city's crime reduction efforts with "Summer in The City."

"Boxing, why? Because it brings so much attention," said Ford.

It's making a difference in young people's lives.

"A very big barrier because you don't understand some kids' backgrounds. Sometimes some of the kids’ backgrounds are rougher than you would have expected, but I’m a person who kind of comes from the neighborhood, so I can get right with them, you know, and come right on their level," said Ford.

Ford opened his gym off Keystone for the “Summer in the City" program focused on conflict resolution among teens through boxing.

"Knowing when to fight, when not to fight, and when not to fight at all, and I think as they got to get the concept of that, they got to see that they could talk a lot of things out, and they got to see that every time it wasn't something to fight about," said Ford.

Ford said nearly 25 kids showed up for the program, including 12-year-old Eddie Mitze.

"Did you like the punches and the combos? Yeah, that's what you really like," Ford told Mitze.

Mitze's mom, Connesha Freeman, said "Summer in the City" gave him something to look forward to this summer.

"He's the only kid at home. He doesn't really go a lot of places, and you know we don't have a lot of kids his age in the family, so it gave him something to do," said Freeman.

"Take your mind off things and help you focus more," said Mitze.

A feeling that resonated with so many who attended.

"I really feel like the program hit the mark. I'm their number 1 personal trainer now," said Ford.

Ford felt the need to make a bigger commitment beyond "Summer in the City."

"I’m going to do it this coming Saturday," said Ford.

Ford will continue the boxing program on Saturdays at noon at 2326 E 44th Street for kids to learn fundamentals and spread more love in the community.

"That's what keeps rubbing off in the program and that's what needs to rub off in the community with other adults. The more love you give to another adult, the more it's not anger, it's not fighting, it's not shooting," said Ford.

If you want to sign your kid up for the program, contact Mike Ford at 317-997-4008.