Te Awamutu Boxing Academy opened their doors in July last year and have since transformed an empty concrete block basement into a fully-fledged boxing gym.
The academy is run by Te Awamutu Youth Development Trust, a charitable trust who want to help build the character of our youth.
"You start a boxing club and people think you're all about boxing. We're not all about boxing," said Te Awamutu Boxing Academy head coach Chris Graham.
"On the wall there are eight values that we have - respect, compassion, duty, obedience, etc. Each one of those values is really important in the academy. Our kids get free membership for the rest of their life if they memorise those values.
"The first of our senior boys has memorised the eight values. So, we've got one lifetime member. The senior boys really celebrated that because they recognise that actually just memorising them is hard work but putting them into action and showing these values and respect.
"That's the whole thing out of it and when they memorise them, they become part of them."
Chris has spent over 40 years of his life working with youth and also overseas in the mission field.
His brother Billy is a former New Zealand boxer, and founder of the Billy Graham Youth Foundation which has seen several boxing academies across New Zealand, including the Te Awamutu Boxing Academy, follow the successful model he first started in Naenae.
The academy has come a long way over the past year starting with just 10 boys in July 2019. Now they have over 100 boys and girls from 9-18 years.
Many of the kids aren't there especially for the boxing; they're there to be a part of something – a community.
"Our vision is champion young people who contribute to our community. That could mean several things," said Te Awamutu Boxing Academy manager Erinna Lane.
"Champion young people at life – whether they go on and do boxing or how they treat their family members. How they do life in school and in the community. We instil values through the academy and we will give them, opportunities to do that out in the community.
"On the other side is that we have had a lot of community support but we believe it goes both ways. We can complain about the young people in our town or we can get behind them, empower them and support them.
"If kids are running amuck in town that's because they don't have that purpose."
The Te Awamutu Boxing Academy coaches are also accredited so if a student wanted to take boxing to a higher level, they'd be more than capable of preparing them.
"The Te Awamutu Boxing Academy is a huge asset to our community," said Te Awamutu's youth aid officer, Senior Constable Scott Miller.
"They are challenging local youth to dig deep and have pride and in themselves and work with others, the boxing is merely the vehicle to get them there. Everyone involved is from Te Awamutu and want the gym to succeed and develop into a safe place where youth can learn the values of the gym and mentor the classes coming through behind them.
"The Police are right behind the academy and their ideals fall into line with our prevention first model. We (police) feel welcome at the gym at any time and look forward to many years in the same corner.
"I'd challenge anyone, or any business who feels like backing this Academy to contact Erinna and see how they can do this. It's an asset Te Awamutu needs to hold onto."
Te Awamutu Boxing Academy are looking for sponsors who would like to get behind their vision. This could be done by making a one-off donation or setting up a regular payment of $10-$100 per month.
To join the 'people in our corner' they can email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.