Caracas boxing program helps troubled kids

Americas Now

Game Changer Charlie Sarria Game Changer Charlie Sarria

This week’s “Game Changer” is Charlie Sarria, co-founder of the Bolivarian Street Boxing program. He grew up in La Vega, and says you have to know how to handle the streets. “How you treat the neighborhood, the neighborhood will treat you,” he said.

Caracas, Venezuela is the second most violent city in Latin America. More than 80 percent of homicides in Caracas happen in shantytown communities. Besides crime, La Vega, a shantytown in Caracas, is known for its long boxing tradition.

Sarria co-founded the program seven years ago to get kids out of violence and into boxing. They have more than 2,000 youth who train and fight in La Vega, many of whom come from the shantytowns. “We’re Bolivarian boxing,” Sarria said. “We’re in the slums with the people. They’re kids who come to us at a young age.”

Caracas boxing program helps troubled kids

This week’s “Game Changer” is Charlie Sarria, co-founder of the Bolivarian Street Boxing program. He grew up in La Vega, and says you have to know how to handle the streets. “How you treat the neighborhood, the neighborhood will treat you,” he says.

Bululú, who’s been a part of the boxing program for eight years, said that when he enters the ring, he feels a passion for his sport of boxing. “I feel adrenaline. That’s why I like boxing so much.” Bululú said growing up in La Vega, he knows many people who have been killed, lost, or in jail.

He decided to take the path of sports, and is known to people in the streets as “our champion.” However, the young boxer’s love for the sport comes second to education.

“School comes first. Because what if I get injured? Even if I’m the best, I’ll be left with nothing because I won’t be able to practice anymore,” he said. “But if I studied, I can have a career. Otherwise I will be a nobody.” Sarria said when he watches these young kids fight, he feels like the job is getting done.

Take a look at this week’s “Game Changer” Charlie Sarria.

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