Art Islas, owner of Los Gallos Boxing Academy and Eugene Weems, founder of Vibrant Green 4 Vibrant Peace (VG4VP) partnered to host an inaugural toy giveaway on Thursday, Dec. 20 at the gym’s location on Foothill Blvd. in Rialto.
One of the gym’s boxers is 2018 National Junior Olympics champion Jesikah Guerra, 15, of Rialto, who will be competing in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, was at the event as an example of a local success story to the youth in attendance.
Dozens of local youth from the community had the opportunity to explore the gym, play musical chairs, have lunch and watch dancers from Teava Nui Performing Arts stage Polynesian dance.
Islas opened the gym to keep youth off the streets and provide a safe haven for at-risk youth. He lost his son to the streets four years ago at the age of 17, and has since made it his mission to help prevent such tragedy in his community.
Islas, a boxer who works two jobs, provides youth at his academy with food, boxing gloves and shoes if they can’t afford it.
Mayor Deborah Robertson presented Islas with a Certificate of Recognition from the city for his “exemplary service and commitment to the youth of this community. (His) dedication to providing the children with an avenue to self-advancement through discipline, education, strength, and mind supports the atmosphere of this community.”
VG4VP, founded on gang intervention and prevention, shares a similar goal with Islas, which brought the two organizations together in partnership.
“We come together in unity, we’re here to help all races of kids, there is no color barrier,” Weems said.
Sponsors of the event include Mayor Robertson, Kennedy Austin Foundation, and Abundant Opportunities Inc. Los Gallos Boxing Academy is located at 911 Foothill Blvd and can be reached at (909) 961-3038.