In Brooklyn, Boxing Puts Kids on the Right Path

by Tom DiChristopher When the Police Athletic League’s youth boxing program lost funding in 2006, its long-time director, Patrick Russo, refused to believe it was down for the count.

Russo cobbled together the resources to keep kids in the ring until he could develop a permanent replacement. In 2010, he officially launched Teddy Atlas Cops and Kids Boxing. The free program gives at-risk youth a place to go after school and provides tutoring and career support. The program has produced Olympic athletes, New York City police officers, and college scholarship winners.

The gym stays open with support from the Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation, a charitable organization run by former boxer and ESPN commentator Teddy Atlas. Atlas himself ran into trouble with the law in his younger days, but turned his life around. Atlas, Russo, and the Cops and Kids staff hope to keep kids on the right path by teaching them discipline in the ring and beyond.