GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A boxing gym in Grand Rapids offers young people another place to study and avoid trouble after its new learning center opens.
The Blue’s Gym’s second-floor learning center opened on Thursday, December 12. It will provide young people with access to computers, Internet access, books, desks and volunteer assistance between 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Grand Rapids Police Captain Kristen Rogers attended the opening Thursday. She called the gymnasium, owned by Dino and Sara Newville, a “positive place in the city”.
“(Blue’s Gym) is just a space where kids can come and exercise, keeping their minds for the learning center, and their talents, drawing their energy, to learn new things,” Rogers said. “Dino grew up in the community, grew up here. He knows that if children have no place to go, they could do other harm.
Blue’s Gym is a non-profit, faith-based boxing and mixed martial arts club located at 4248 Kalamazoo Ave. SE. It has been open since 1997, offering free classes, mentoring and a safe haven for youth and young adults.
Four-time kickboxing world champion Dino Newville said the goal behind the center is to give students a place to advance their education and stay out of trouble.
“So many children come here and they can’t read, can’t write, literally can’t spell and they’re 13, 14, 15,” he said. “We need to have a better system for children. “
Newville estimates that the gymnasium serves around 425 young people each week, providing them with a place to work out and relax and now a place to study.
Specialty courses available at the learning center include coding, nonviolent communication, personal finance, critical thinking and learning skills, as well as personal goal setting.
A handful of students at Grand Valley State University set up networks, designed a website, and set up the learning center’s computer system as part of their Computer Information Systems Synthesis project.
The learning center has two volunteers on board, but is looking for more volunteers to provide tutoring services. For more information, contact the gym at 616-323-5155.