(AUG 5) This week I had a great
opportunity to attend the National Night Out, that took
place on August 1st in Longview, Washington. In particular I
attended the event to meet up with boxing coach and who started
the Highlands Neighborhood Association (HNA) Lions Den Boxing
gym, Juan Rodriguez, who invited WBAN to be there to check out
the new boxing gym that is being developed for the community.
Juan Rodriguez (R)
I asked Rodriguez about the
beginnings of the gym that is in the process of being completed.
Rodriguez said, "HNA lions den is a non-profit boxing club that
was started by Danny Wilson and myself. Our vision for the
program is to create a safe place with accountability and
structure for at-risk youth in the highlands area of Longview,
Washington. "This part of the community has a high
crime rate and due to drugs like meth and opiates, which affects
every aspect of community living from petty theft to violence."
"The high school dropout rate is also extremely high. Many
of our students come from single parent families, or have one or
more parents in jail or prison and in active addiction, HNA
Lions dens driving force is the youth and making a direct impact
on the community our location is in the Hart of the highlands
which makes easy access for our members most of our youth walk
to practice which at this time is open three days a week
Tuesdays and Fridays from five to seven and Sundays from four to
"All coaches and staff for are in
the HNA, and the Lions Den are volunteers. The
success of our program truly is about community involvement, and
all our equipment is donated or purchased through grants and
donations and the city of Longview and parks and Recreation.
They have really rallied behind us and showed us support."
"David belt is one of our coaches and was elected as our
committee president and things have been going well he is great
at networking and an excellent role model for our youth."
"So we do not charge members to participate and we do purchase a
USA boxing passport for our more dedicated students all a parent
has to do is sign a release waiver."
"We do target at-risk youth but our program is open to everyone.
When you put the gloves on we are all warriors," added
Sue Fox holding up a Lions Den
Rodriguez told WBAN that the
female boxers that are in the gym are doing quite well.
He said, " I must admit the young
ladies in our program are very driven and some are advancing at
a fast pace. They are very coachable, and they push
themselves extremely hard and are goal- driven which is great
for us and motivates other team mates."
"HNA Lions Den philosophy, is mind, body, spirit lead to honor
and courage. We do expect our students to go to school, and we
are all about progress----not perfection and we like them to get
involved in some type of community service to give back what
they have been given," added Rodriguez.
About the Longview Highlands
Neighborhood Association National Night Out in the park:
It is an annual celebration
for communities to “say good-bye to crime,” and is a great way
to get to know your neighbors and improve your neighborhood.
Held this year at the Archie Anderson Park, they offered free
family activities, bicycle registration, and snacks. The
Highlands Neighborhood Association will also honored the local