Lowell Police Youth Services Program Offering Youth Boxing Club to City Residents Ages 10 to 18

Legendary Lowell boxing trainer Jackie O’Neill, at right, trains with a member of the Lowell Police Youth Boxing Club as other club members train in the background. (Photo Courtesy Lowell Police Department)

LOWELL — Superintendent Raymond Kelly Richardson would like to share that the Lowell Police Department is offering a free Youth Boxing Club for any city resident ages 10 to 18.

The Lowell Police Youth Boxing Club offers an opportunity to learn about boxing from volunteer coaches and mentors, including legendary Lowell boxing trainer Jackie O’Neill, while also enjoying an activity that improves physical fitness, confidence, and coordination.

Lowell Police employees who staff the program on a volunteer basis include Officer Dominic Lessieur, who is a former Golden Gloves champion, former Golden Gloves champion and retired City of Lowell employee Keith Rudy, retired Lowell Police Officer Billy Callahan, Officers Emmanuel Antonetty, Jonathan Rivera, Alec Golner, Christal Downs and Emaly Bouasri as well as Sgt. Mike Marshall.

The club meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m., and from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. For now the club meets at the Doughboy Wrestling Club, 171 Lincoln St., but the City of Lowell has issued a Request for Proposals as organizers search for a more permanent home.

Organizers are seeking to lease 3,000 to 6,000 square feet of commercial space in Lowell to give the club a home where a full-sized boxing ring can be set up.

“I want to thank all of the Lowell Police Department personnel who volunteer their time to this effort, as well as all of the community partners who have supported our efforts to offer healthy and fun opportunities like the Youth Boxing Club to Lowell youth,” said Superintendent Richardson. “Boxing is a great way to channel energy, learn self-defense, and to get exercise while building relationships between youth and police officers.”

The club is one of several initiatives organized by the Lowell Police Youth Services Program, which seeks to create opportunities for all city youth to participate in free after-school activities, athletics, and other ventures that emphasize health and wellness, while also experiencing positive interactions with police officers.

Lilian Lebron, whose son Liam Lebron is part of the club, said the boxing program helps her son expend his high amounts of energy. It also has provided a significant physical benefit, because her son is in physical therapy for a condition effecting his feet.

“My favorite thing is the exercising,” Liam said.

“It’s a wonderful program. It’s great for the kids to get all the physical activity, but it also goes beyond the physical part, because the police officers act as coaches and mentors and encourage the kids to work hard, exercise, and to build confidence,” said parent Clarivel Dragas. “Plus the program is free. I think it’s great opportunity for police to build relationships and to be wonderful members of the community.”

Dragas’ daughter, Lucia Dragas, is a member of the Lowell Police Citizens Advisory Committee who hopes to one day become a police officer. Lucia said she joined the club to learn self-defense, to get exercise, and to build relationships with the Lowell Police Officers who serve as mentors.

“It’s also just a really fun setting,” Lucia said. “Just about every time I come here there’s something funny that happens. It’s very enjoyable.”

Another club member, Israel Armstead, said he likes that the club gives young people an opportunity to be active and stay out of trouble.

“I like that it gives you a good workout and it keeps you busy,” Israel said. “I like all the moving around and the jumping.”

“We are excited to offer these opportunities for Lowell youth to stay in shape, build confidence, and to form positive, trusting relationships with police officers,” said Deputy Superintendent Barry Golner. “The Lowell Police Department invites all youth in the city to check out the programs we have on offer.”

For more information on joining the Youth Boxing Club, email: LPDYouthServices@lowellma.gov.