When Megan Schmittauer began boxing at the Punch House
in Norwood last year, she had no idea three young boys would soon change her life.
Schmittauer, 28 at the time, was just starting her boxing career and was fascinated with their persistent workouts. Her friendship with AJ, EJ and Tyrik began with a trade — for every workout tip and trick the boys gave her, she gave each of them a piece of gum.
When the boys left Punch House and relocated to Real Deal Boxing Club in Mt. Healthy, Schmittauer followed. She began to mentor them and developed the idea for Fighting Chance
by combining the boys’ love of boxing with a program that helps them build self-confidence and discipline. Fighting Chance opened earlier this year and has reached as many as 60 boys.
“It’s definitely been a humbling process,” Schmittauer says. “I never saw myself doing something like this. I moved down here when I was going through a transitional place in my life. These kids brought feeling back into my heart and my life.”
While boxing grabs the kids’ attention and gets them in the door, it’s the academic piece that slowly begins to change the way they view themselves. Between mentoring and tutoring, school grades start to pick up and self-confidence grows.
Fighting Chance is opening another program in Roselawn this month and hopes to expand to other neighborhoods in need of a mentoring program. The organization also has plans to offer a social development leadership program to provide exposure to opportunities to give back to the community.
“You always wish you could do more,” Schmittauer says. “It’s hard to know a kid doesn’t have a bed … or clothes. That’s the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.”
• Make a donation
to support Fighting Chance.
• Fighting Chance is 100 percent volunteer-based, so become a mentor
• For more information on Fighting Chance and how you can help, call 513-444-0683.