Center Teaches Discipline and Respect

Faith and Hope Community Center Established to Benefit Local Youth

Growing up on the South Side, Bobby Harrison and Eddie Beauford met in a fist fight at the age of 8.

“We’ve been hanging out for the past 54 years,” Harrison said. “We became friends instead of enemies.”

In 2003, along with another friend named Richard Brooks, the three established a community boxing gym for local youth on Montgomery Street. They called it “Faith and Hope,” a reference to what they say they want to
bring to the community.

In teaching students how to defend themselves, Harrison says they learn discipline and respect.

“If a kid knows how to protect himself, a lot of times the bullets don’t bother that kid. He has that self-esteem, he knows he can take care of himself,” he said.

Harrison says he believes that violence in the community is among the biggest obstacles in his students’ lives. He recalled one incident on Feb. 8, when a school bus was caught in the crossfire of a shooting on South Avenue. Luckily, no children on board were injured.

“But this is a common occurrence now, people are numb to it,” Harrison said.

About 40 kids visit the center every day. Due to state budget cuts, five staff members work on an entirely volunteer basis to teach and train the aspiring boxers. One dedicated group comes in for boxing lessons from coach
James Jackson every weekday evening. He says his students represent many different backgrounds, and he likes the diversity.

“Whoever comes out here, we try to help them out. No matter what color you are, what nationality you are, what religion you are, what language you speak. We’ll find someone who can speak it,” he said.

The Faith and Hope Community Center is located at 1029 Montgomery St. and can be reached at (315) 476-7942.