LOWELL — Acting Superintendent Barry Golner and the Lowell Police Department are grateful to share that, thanks to generous support from community partners, the Lowell Police Youth Services Program has opened a new facility for its youth boxing program.
Thanks to donations from the Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund, a grant from the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Shannon Community Safety Initiative, and numerous community partners, the new facility includes a new, full-sized boxing ring, new training equipment, and new gym equipment.
The Lowell Police Youth Services Boxing Club is free for city residents ages 10 to 18. During the summer, the club meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10-11 a.m., and from 1-2 p.m., and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m., and from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
The Lowell Police Youth Boxing Club offers an opportunity to learn about boxing from volunteer coaches and mentors, including legendary Lowell boxing trainer Jackie O’Neill, while also enjoying an activity that improves physical fitness, confidence, and coordination.
Lowell Police employees who staff the program on a volunteer basis include Officer Dominic Lessieur, who is a former Golden Gloves champion, former Golden Gloves champion and retired City of Lowell employee Keith Rudy, retired Lowell Police Officer Billy Callahan, Officers Emmanuel Antonetty, Jonathan Rivera, Alec Golner, Christal Downs, and Emaly Bouasri, as well as Sgt. Mike Marshall.
About 75 students have participated in the club, which borrowed space from the Doughboy Wrestling Club as organizers worked to find a more permanent home.
Last week, the Department held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the new gym, on the second floor of the Portuguese American Lowell Youth Center on Central Street.
Grant funding to pay for leasing the space was provided by EOPSS’ Shannon Community Safety Initiative, which also provided funds for new heavy bags, speed bags, and safety equipment for boxers. The Shannon Community Safety Initiative is a multi-pronged approach to addressing community gang and youth violence problems using five strategy areas: Social intervention, Suppression, Opportunity Provision, Organizational Change, and Community Mobilization.
The Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund provided funding to purchase a full-size boxing ring, weights, and cardio equipment, as well as food and beverages for the ceremony.
Additional support was provided by Branco Perego, the owner of Nationwide Tile, who donated and installed rubber flooring in the gym. Chris Ortiz, of MCC Construction, helped locate the space in the Youth Center. The Greater Lowell Community Foundation, Citywide Properties, Central Plaza Realty, and the Portuguese American Youth Center also provided support.
“It has taken the efforts of so many to be able to open the doors of our boxing gym,” Acting Superintendent Golner said. “I am proud of the way the City of Lowell consistently comes together to support youth activities.”
Painted on the walls of the gym are the cores values of the Lowell Police Department: Integrity, Respect, Accountability, Knowledge, Sanctity of Life, and Community.
“They are there to remind those involved in our program that our core values are societal values, and are consistent no matter what profession or path you take in life,” said Acting Superintendent Golner. “This facility is an important step in the Police Department’s commitment to building bridges and relationships with the youth in the City of Lowell.”
Retired MIT Police Sgt. Richard Sullivan, who worked with Officer Collier, also spoke. He said the Collier Memorial Fund is planning more projects in Lowell, including some involving the Lowell Police Youth Services Program.
“We’d like to help the city as much as we can to keep these kids happy and off the streets,” said Sullivan. “We’re going to be in Lowell for a very long time.”
Lowell Mayor Sokhary Chau also spoke briefly, and State Rep. Rady Mom, D-Lowell, presented a citation from the House of Representatives congratulating the Department on the opening of the facility. Centralville District City Councilor Corey Robinson and retired Lowell Police Superintendent Kelly Richardson also attended.
Lowell Police Sgt. Mike Marshall, officer in charge of the Lowell Police Youth Services Program, led club members through a demonstration of their warmups and exercises. He said the new facility will be a place in Lowell for youth to find positive interactions and influences.
“This is a place for them to grow and a place for them to learn,” said Sgt. Marshall.
For more information on joining the Youth Boxing Club, email: LPDYouthServices@lowellma.gov.
About the Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund
The Officer Sean A Collier Memorial Fund is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization established in memory of MIT Police Officer Sean A. Collier, who was killed in the line of duty on April 18, 2013 in the aftermath of the attack on the Boston Marathon. The Memorial Fund seeks to carry on Officer Collier’s deep personal and professional commitment to service, connection, and support for others. The Fund awards grants to local public police departments and non-profit groups to support the development and implementation of community programs designed to build connections between law enforcement and the communities they serve. For more information, visit: https://officercolliermemorialfund.org/.
About the Lowell Police Youth Services Program
The Lowell Police Youth Services Program seeks to create opportunities for all city youth to participate in free after school activities, athletics, and other ventures that emphasize health and wellness, while also experiencing positive interactions with police officers. The Lowell Police Youth Services Program is open to partnering with all community stakeholders. Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months for additional programming involving swimming and flag football.
For more information on the Lowell Police Youth Services Program, email: LPDYouthServices@lowellma.gov. To make a donation to the Lowell Police Youth Services Program via the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, click here.
To follow the Lowell Police Youth Services Program on Instagram, click here.