When it comes to programs that help kids, it’s difficult to match the determination and results of the Downtown Boxing Gym on the near east side of the city.
Khali Sweeney (we’ve had him as a guest on our Daily Detroit Happy Hour podcast) founded and runs the after-school program that serves 156 Detroit students from the ages of 8-18.
There are some impressive numbers behind the program. For students involved, has a 100% high school graduation rate since 2007, because it focuses on “books before boxing.” Students participate in athletics after getting their homework done. There’s also a series of programs that provide support beyond the basics — extracurricular and enrichment activities that are sorely lacking in Detroit — such as computer coding, robotics, cooking, and music.
Sweeney understands that in Detroit, the need for services for kids extends way beyond opening your doors, and includes a fleet of six vans to get people where they need to go (and it’s not unheard of for him to drive the van himself).
Here’s the thing. There’s more to do. As you can guess, the need is high.
“Right now, there are 850 students on our waiting list. We will not rest until we can make a difference in their lives, too. The work we are doing not only impacts our students and their families – it has a positive impact on our community, the city of Detroit, and the world. Thank you for all of your votes and support,” said Sweeney.
The 2017 Top 10 CNN Heroes, in its 11th year, celebrates individuals who are making extraordinary contributions to help improve the lives of others. Here’s where you come in.
Voting is now open to select the ‘CNN Hero of the Year’ by voting for the Top 10 CNN Hero who inspires them the most. And we’re from Detroit, so we’re totally biased for our hometown favorites (and he’s the only one from Detroit), so vote for Khali.
You can vote daily at CNNHeroes.com via email or Facebook, as well as on Facebook Messenger by messaging VOTE to the CNN Heroes Facebook page.
This is a case where you are supposed to vote early and vote often. You can vote up to 10x a day, per method, every day through Tuesday, December 12 at midnight Pacific Time.
The winner will be announced by Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa live on the The 11th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute. All 10 honorees on Sunday, December 17 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
The good news is that Khali is already a winner as a top 10 finalist, with the organization receiving $10,000. But your vote could make a big difference difference as the ‘CNN Hero of the Year’ will receive an additional $100,000.