The Paia Youth Boxing Club is back in operation, with help from a Maui County Paramedics Association donation that allowed the club to replace $3,000 in equipment that was stolen in a break-in at the Paia Gym last year.
"The kids were devastated when their equipment was stolen and MCPA has given them a huge gift that we would not have been able to afford on our own," said Charles Jennings, who started the club as a way of helping keep Paia youth off the streets by offering them disciplined training in boxing. "All the members are very grateful."
The burglary at the gym occurred in December, with the thieves cutting chains that held up boxing bags to steal them, Jennings said. He said punching bags, speed bags, gloves, headgear and other items also were stolen.
Paia Boxing Club members Leo Alonso and Andrew Alonso practice at the Paia Gym. A $3,000 donation by the Maui County Paramedics Association allowed the club to replace equipment stolen in a burglary in December.
Maui County Paramedics Association photo
So far, those responsible for the theft haven't been apprehended, Jennings said.
The Maui County Paramedics Association made the $3,000 donation to fund the purchase of new equipment for the club after the theft was discussed at an association meeting, said Ryan Joslin, public information officer for the association.
"The boxing club's philosophy, as well as its dedication to our community's youth, were in line with our union's values and initiatives," Joslin said. "As such, the membership decided to fund the purchase of new equipment to ensure the club's ability to engage our community's youth in its positive way."
Jennings, who is originally from Samoa, is a former boxer who has lived in Paia for more than 20 years. He started the club in 1990 as a way to emphasize honesty, respect and physical health, and to help youths stay away from alcohol and drugs.
With the association's donation, the club has replaced the stolen equipment and bought additional punching bags, gloves, sparring headgear, hand wraps, shinguards, digital timers and jump ropes. The new equipment has been arriving over the past month and a half, Joslin said.
Members train an average of three times a week at the club located at the back of the gym on Baldwin Avenue. Anyone interested in the sport can stop by or call Jennings at 357-1484. The youngest club member is 6 years old.