The fight of their lives: Victory Boxing helps youths build respectful relationships
Every week, Nelson Constable Jason Rangi takes time to encourage and teach young boys to "dig in", help each other, and work hard.
Rangi volunteers at Victory Boxing fitness classes.
The programme teaches life lessons that help Nelson youths, aged from 8-to-18-years-old, build positive relationships in the community. But on Mondays the classes have a point of difference – a police presence.
Police have been involved in the programme for a few years but Rangi started helping out three months ago. He has built a positive relationship with the young boxers in that time, he said.
It was vital for youth to feel they could trust police especially as the region faced a spate of aggravated robberies, most of which had involved people under 18-years-old, he said.
"We're seeing 13-year-olds involved in [serious crime]. These are the kids we need to show the way to."
More than 200 students take part at Victory Boxing, using exercise to drive home a message – to care, respect, be responsible and honest.
Rangi said the core values of Victory Boxing aligned with police values, but they also helped the participants make good decisions in challenging circumstances, steer away from peer pressure and build self-esteem.
Victory Boxing founder Paul Hampton said the waiting list for the programme was "substantial" but there was always room for youngsters most in need of guidance.
He said volunteers, like Rangi, were crucial to the success of Victory Boxing and gave these young men and boys a chance to learn from positive males in their lives.
"It's a great way to see the police in a proactive and positive light."
Hampton said police involvement in classes proved to the boys "you're worth our time".
He said some had a general distrust of the police and a history of getting into trouble at school. Exercise, healthy eating and a positive lifestyle was a way out, he said.
However, "we're one part of the jigsaw".
For more information on Victory Boxing programmes contact Paul Hampton on 027 541 9015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.