The International Boxing Club will be hosting a reunion/roller skating party on Friday, December 28, from 7-11 pm., at the former Fun Spot, 525 Earlwood St., in Oregon.
According to IBC Director, Harry Cummins, many people have been stopping into the former skating rink to see how the place has changed. Quite a few have been telling him stories about their memories of skating there.
“I had people over the summer come in and see the place,” Cummins said. “They would say they had so many memories of Fun Spot. I have heard about records people set in speed skating and many people met their girlfriend, now their wife, while roller skating. I just thought it would be fun for people to come back, skate, and maybe meet up with old friends they have not seen in a while.”
Cummins purchased the building in January from Joyce Kish, whose family had opened and ran the Fun Spot since1960.
The 21,000 square foot building now houses the IBC, a 501(c)3 youth organization that currently serves 42 kids, ages 8-19, through its boxing programs, learning center and a vocational training center which helps train students in the carpentry, electrical, and plumbing trades.
Kids from East Toledo, Oregon and Northwood, lured by learning the sport of boxing, also get a healthy dose of education and many life lessons along the way.
“We use boxing to get the kids off of the streets,” Cummins said. “We have a learning center to help tutor the kids. It is free to join the club, but it is mandatory they bring in their homework.”
Formed in 1998, the IBC has been working hard to changes kids’ lives. For the most part, the unique programming has been doing just that.
“We are there to make champions in life,” Cummins said. “When we first started, 75 percent of the kids were failing in school. Now, 95 percent are passing in school. Last year, we had three of our kids graduate from the University of Toledo. This year, we have 11 attending local universities.”
The IBC runs two boxing programs, one for those who want to compete, the other for kids who just want to learn boxing as a hobby and healthy sport.
“We care about the kids, we work with them,” he said. “We teach them the hardest part of schoolwork is opening the books. We give them a lot of positive feedback, letting them know they can do it.”
Cummins said the new kids in the program look up to the ones who have been involved in the program for a while. That, and the mandatory homework requirements are what helps change the academic and possibly the life outcomes of the students involved.
“It is mandatory they bring in work or they are sent home,” Cummins said. “They turn in work and their grades pick up. That is when we see the turnaround in them.”
The IBC program is currently full, Cummins said, adding he is looking at expanding the program next summer.
The skate night is one of many planned fundraisers for the organization. Admission is $5 and those wishing to skate must bring their own skates. There will also be dancing and plenty of time to visit with Kish, who will be in attendance. Refreshments will be available.
The IBC will also hold another teen dance party on Saturday, December 22 from 6-10 pm. Admission is $5 and refreshments will be available.
“The building has so much history and I am proud that we are continuing to be able to serve the kids in the community there,” Cummins said. “We are hoping families and those who used to skate at Fun Spot come on out and have fun.”
For more information on the IBC and its programs, please go to the website: http://www.ibctoledo.org/contact.htm.