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Cool Event of the week: The Highlands Neighborhood Association "National Night Out" in Longview
by Sue TL Fox
August 5, 2017


(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 seven."

"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 Rodriguez.

Sue Fox holding up a Lions Den Boxing T-shirt

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 heroes. 

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