For several decades 83 year old boxing legend Ray Rinaldi has provided troubled teens with a place to keep themselves off the streets. At his athletic and educations centers, located on the north and west side of Syracuse, he teaches kids how to use boxing as an outlet for life stress and the importance of discipline. The kids, along with their often concerned parents are appreciative and supportive of Rinaldi's facility.
"Parents believe this is a safe haven," says Rinaldi, "which it is, and it gets your kids in here."
Over the years, Rinaldi has registered over 33-hundred kids who were interested in boxing, but who ultimately found a brotherhood and a chance to avoid the trouble that they might have found on the streets. Rinaldi says he has witnessed numerous success stories, "I've had so many kids that went to college, became lawyers, doctors and reporters."
Despite all of the good that the programs have brought to their neighborhoods, the boxing and education centers have lost significant state and county contributions over the years. R inaldi says the promising future that the programs provide for troubled youth warrants more funding.
" O nce a kid takes pride in himself, it builds up the self-esteem and the confidence ," adds Rinaldi, " Where else are you going to get that?"