State Farm Neighborhood Assist ® 2018

The Bloc's Books and Boxing Program

Using the discipline of boxing to give teens the resources needed to impact their communities.

For years, Chicago has been known for violence. Gangs, drugs, and poverty are cited as causes of over 600 yearly murders, but at the center of it all is hopelessness. In Chicago, teens disheartened by poverty and trauma turn to the streets. The Bloc fights violence with hope.

We are not a boxing club. Boxing attracts teens unlikely to join tutoring and mentoring groups — those who want to fight. With no sense of belonging, outlet for anger, or guidance, they often resort to crime.

Providing teenagers guidance, safety, support, and a sense of belonging will reduce violence. To meet these needs, The Bloc provides a program unlike any other in Chicago. We use boxing to draw students to our tutoring and mentoring, keeping them on track for graduation, college, and employment. Homework help, educational trips, and mentors help illuminate our fighters' paths to success.

In a community where less than 10% of students attend college, we have kept a 3.2 GPA and 100% college acceptance rate.

Many kids who would benefit from after school programs are ineligible or uninterested in the offerings. As a result, they spend their teenage years seeking belonging, too often finding it in gangs. This grant will make it possible for those kids to find The Bloc, where we will not only keep kids off the streets, but to push them to be their best selves and excel in all aspects of their lives.

With $25,000 from State Farm, we will fund educational field trips, create a robust tutoring program, provide stipends for mentor and tutoring coordinators, and reach more students with transformative programming.

The Neighborhood Assist Grant will allow us to add facets to our programming that elevate 200 students to new heights. Kids who walk into our gym wanting to learn to fight others will learn to fight for success in and out of the ring.

The Neighborhood Assist Grant would provide more than materials. It would provide guidance, safety, and hope for a bright future to Chicago's youth.

The Neighborhood Assist Grant would have a permanent impact on our community. When we provide a place for young people to grow into the best versions of themselves, we make it possible for them to overcome their obstacles and transform their communities. Not only would this grant give us the ability to improve the educational outcomes of hundreds of kids, it would help us create a new model of change and success for Chicago — one that meets young people where they are, with the programs they ask for, to develop them holistically.

Improving our community's educational results by targeting kids missed by other opportunities will advance our economic outcomes, reduce violence, and increase the momentum for positive change in our city. The Neighborhood Assist Grant would put The Bloc on a path to impact Chicago teens for years, give our community hope and a sense of pride, and make Chicago's West Side a place where all young people are guided, supported, and inspired to achieve excellence.