RINGSIDE FOR YOUTH…it’s all about giving back…
When Steve Gallant came up with the idea for Ringside for Youth in 1994, few people thought it would be successful. But Gallant was sure he was on to something. Especially when Tom Hicks, former founding partner of JetForm agreed to participate and sell tickets. The event honoured special guest George Chuvalo and featured some excellent amateur boxing. Gallant and Hicks were thrilled when 200 people showed up and they’d made $15,000 for the Ottawa Police Youth Centre. Realizing that they might be onto a unique event for Ottawa, plans for Ringside for Youth II got underway.
The Ottawa Police Youth Centre had opened in 1992. It soon became a go-to place for youth in the troubled Debra-Dynes neighbourhood. The crime rate dropped and young members developed a pride of ownership for the centre. In 2002, the Ottawa Police Youth Centre merged with the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club. It was a logical and cost-effective move. Both organizations were committed to building young lives in the community, providing a safe place for activities and providing leadership. The Ottawa Boys and Girls club is now one of the largest social service agencies in the city. It provides activities and life building skills to over 5,000 children and youth every year.
Now, heading into its 23rd year, Ringside for Youth has raised over $3 million for the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club. The retired championship boxers have included Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Ken Norton, Gerry Cooney, Larry Holmes, Roberto Duran, Smokin’ Joe Frazier and Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns, to name a few.
Up and coming amateur boxers chosen by Jill Perry, President of Beaver Boxing and former Canadian Champion has guaranteed exciting, crowd-pleasing fights.
Ringside for Youth is all about giving back. This year more than 1,200 people will attend the event and help ‘give back’ for the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club. Steve Gallant, Tom Hicks and the entire long-serving Ringside organizing committee are thrilled.