DETROIT – Imagine a running track that flows from inside to outside. Imagine a butterfly garden for students to get closer to nature. Imagine an outdoor learning space for science projects in the warm spring and summer months. These are just some of the creative ideas specially designed for the Downtown Boxing Gym by a program called Challenge Detroit.
Challenge Detroit is a fellowship program that brings together innovative, community-minded thinkers to dream big for our city. Since its inception 5 years ago, Challenge Detroit has served more than 40 local non-profit organizations. Add the Downtown Boxing Gym to the growing list!
“We really believe in the mission of the boxing gym,” says program director Shelley Danner. “We truly believe it’s important to develop our youth – they are the future of our city.”
Ready, Set – Grow!
At the start of the challenge, the fellows visited the gym to see firsthand what our program is all about. Coach Khali Sweeney spoke and the fellows got to meet some of the students in our free, after-school program. The impact was immediate and profound.
Khali has always dreamt of having a functional and fun outdoor space for the students at our gym, a clean, safe place where they can learn and play. Thanks to the hard work done by the fellows from Challenge Detroit, Khali’s dream now has a vision and a blueprint.
The “Green Space Activation” challenge sought to create a space our children can enjoy while also providing a greater variety of educational opportunities and activities. The goal was also to connect this space to the community and the surrounding neighborhood. With that in mind, the fellows spent a great deal of time speaking not only with our students, staff and volunteers, but with the community.
The Challenge Detroit fellows worked in 4 teams: seasonal programming, community, sustainability, and long-term growth. At the end of the 5-week program, they unveiled their concepts during a February 17, 2017 presentation at the boxing gym. The program included renderings and implementation plans, which will help guide the Downtown Boxing Gym’s leaders as we look to turn these concepts into reality.
“What’s most important to us is that the work that our fellows do on these projects, the ideas they generate, will be tangible, useable, and implementable, “ Danner said. “It’s a collective community idea. That’s what excites me and energizes me. My hope is this accelerates bringing that space to life.”
About the Downtown Boxing Gym