Created: Thu, 05 Sep 2013 09:44:00 EST
Updated: Fri, 06 Sep 2013 12:01:16 EST
Nearly 7 years ago 16-year-old Jaire Mack walked into a boxing gym with his mother. He was hooked.
"This is what I've been waiting for," Mack said, reflecting on his first days in the gym.
The 10th grade home school student from Macon is one of around 15 students trained throughout the year at the Middle Georgia Amateur Boxing Club by boxing coach Garry Jenkins.
The club's mission is simple, teach youth in the community self worth, respect, and discipline in ways only a boxer knows.
"For that athlete that overcomes his don't side, he is a true winner in life," Jankins said.
In Jenkins ten years as a coach, he's seen a number of athletes walk through the doors, many of them exchanging the challenges of growing up for newfound values.
"I have traded gloves for cigarettes, traded gloves for marijuana, traded gloves for teenage pregnancy, I have traded gloves for gang violence, I have traded gloves for a lot of things that hold our young people back," Jenkins said.
For Mack the life lessons he is learning are invaluable. With an 11-5 amateur record he's far from perfect, but he knows how to train, and he's ready for anything life throws at him.
"I come here, I get in the boxing ring, I leave all the other stuff at home, it ends right there at that door," Mack said.