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Phoenix boxing gym provides resources to young people in hopes of keeping them off the streets

R.O.C.K. Foundation in South Phoenix
Posted at 4:06 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 19:52:33-05

PHOENIX — R.O.C.K. Foundation in South Phoenix aims to be a safe, accessible place for young people in the community.

Robert Barnes and his wife started the nonprofit four years ago on 25th and Broadway streets.

R.O.C.K stands for "reaching our community and kids."

Barnes said they do a lot more than boxing.

"We're training athletes up here, but we're helping to raise young men," said Barnes. "One thing about the streets, the streets is always hiring. And we don't want them in the streets."

Barnes provides free training and open gym space for low-income families. He and the staff at R.O.C.K. Foundation also provide counseling and mentoring.

"We do job searches, resume writing, we do food boxes, we give you inspirational words," he said. "Everybody is welcome no matter your race, your community, no matter your gender, come on down."

The gym has Zumba classes for women and various programs for young people. It's also a place people can come hang out.

"Sometimes we just sit around and have group talks--we talk about social issues, everything that's affecting the community," said Barnes.

Johnnie Rogers has been coming to R.O.C.K. Foundation for three months.

"I come every day, keeps me out of trouble," he said.

The 17-year-old said he's got friends that have gotten involved in crime, but the gym has helped him focus his energy on boxing.

"If I'm at home and I'm not doing nothing, I'll go do something so I won't be bored. Instead of that, I come to the gym, and I'm good," he said. "I see myself really doing this as a job, as a career."

R.O.C.K. Foundation is partnering with other groups in South Phoenix to bring a big food drive outside the gym.

The nonprofit relies on donations for its community outreach programs.

Learn more about the gym and how you can donate here.