Teaching erring youths how to punch may seem counter intuitive to some, but it’s not even half the story.
The Blue Light boxing program, after a hiatus of a few years, is gaining traction among youngsters in the region.
Eight months in, close to 30 kids are pounding the heavy bag and shadow boxing out of the Hit Factory in Golden Square.
Gym owner Danniel Burton, who opened his doors to the program without a financial incentive, said it was a common misconception teaching people to box bred violence.
“It’s life changing for these kids,” said Mr Burton of the program, which is run in conjunction with Victoria Police.
Around 40 similar programs are run across Victoria, and Acting Assistant Commissioner, Debra Robertson, said it was a good opportunity for police officers, who volunteered their time to the program, to interact with the state’s youth in a less formal setting.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Robertson, who is the president of Blue Light Victoria, said the organisation’s array of programs helped put purpose back into young peoples’ lives.
Sergeant Adam Woods said boxing taught youngsters a number of things, including discipline, self-belief and a sense of belonging.
“It gives them (youth) a sense of purpose – a reason to get out of bed in the morning,” Sergeant Woods said.
For three mornings each week, Charlotte Daley has jumped out of bed.
Before getting involved in boxing, Ms Daley admitted she didn’t “do much” outside of school.
Boxing has given her “confidence and fitness” and a new found respect at school.
“Sometimes when I tell my friends I’m going to boxing I feel a little bit judged but I also feel people are intrigued as well,” she said.
Amanda Richardson’s two sons are on the program, which she said gives them valuable mentoring through the volunteer police officers.
“It is a good environment for building relationships,” she said.