In recent weeks, athletes from all around the world are sharing their road to Rio stories with the public, recognizing the strength of their accomplishment and how it can affect a community. For Brooklyn based boxer, Richardson Hitchins, a string of events in his adolescence paved the way to a quest for an after-school activity that would shield him from nefarious activity while giving him the tools to defend himself. According to a recent article, Hitchins accomplished those goals and much more once he began boxing at a gym located beneath a housing complex in Flatbush Gardens called NYC Cops and Kids Boxing.
During an interview with the New York Daily News, Hitchins details the horrific story of a summer day when he witnesses a brazen act of gun violence at a local park. After that day, Hitchins and his mother set their sights on an extracurricular activity that might double as a safe haven. Six years later, Hitchins is one of three Olympians to emerge from the Flatbush Garden’s gym located at 3301 Foster Avenue in Brooklyn. He is also one of the top 141 pound amateur boxers in the entire world.
According to Pat Russo, a retired detective who manages the NYC Cops and Kids Boxing gym, Hitchins is a gleaming example of how important these types of inclusive programs can be for the community as a whole. “Something as simple as what we do should be in every precinct around the city,” Russo told the New York Daily News. “It costs us $50,000 a year to run the gym. You know how much it costs each year to incarcerate a kid? $68,000.”