Crushers Club is a most improbable and quite remarkable story. Mother of three Sally Hazelgrove moves her family to Englewood—one of the most challenging neighborhoods in the country—because she feels called to help. Gang banging and shootings abound there; opportunities to escape that life do not.
Hazelgrove asks young males loitering on street corners what activity would motivate them to try harder in school and keep them away from gangs. Their surprising answer? Boxing.
She singlehandedly obtains a funding grant, rents 5,000 square feet in a local church, and recruits young men to join her new club where they learn to box and develop leadership skills based on four ideals—respect, discipline, ownership and love.
Boys ages 7 to 18 join Crushers Club. They stay because they feel Hazelgrove’s love and determination to help them succeed.
Crushers Club has been wildly successful for the 200 boys that it has served. It’s even produced a champion boxer already. It also has cobbled together many other programs and activities that give a young person purpose and hope—including a recording studio, academic help and mentorship to find jobs outside Englewood.
Hazelgrove already has been recognized nationally for her work, including interviews with the Daily Beast and Katie Couric, as well as awards from the Women In The World Summit and The abc* Foundation.
The numbers are stunning. Schools report improved academics and attitudes for 90 percent of the Crusher Club participants; 90 percent of parents see improvement too. Plus, 100 percent of the youth report that they feel happier and safer. The juvenile justice system took notice when they realized that 85 percent of the youth in their system who found their way to Crushers Club did not reoffend, so it is growing its partnership with the club.
The best stat of all: Crushers Club costs $3,500 per youth, per year. Compare that to the cost of one year’s incarceration or probation—around $90,000—and it’s clear that Crusher’s Club is a winner for all of society.
Crushers Club By The Numbers:
- 200 male youth served
- 90 percent improved academic performance and attitude at school and home
- 100 percent felt happier and safer
- 85 percent of participants who were in the juvenile justice system did not reoffend
- 1 Golden Glove winner
- $90,000 cost per person for one year of incarceration
This article is part of our 2014 Philanthropy Awards. Find more of our winners here: