Several months ago, I was driving through Oakland when I sped past a sign saying:
"EOBA: East Oakland Boxing Association."
I was shocked. Here I am, the boxing/MMA editor for The Sports Fan Journal, and I was completely unaware that there was a boxing association in my own backyard. I wasn't quite sure what a "boxing association" was, but I knew I had to find out as fast as possible. Thus began my journey with EOBA.
This organization is special. Inside of its dank, warehouse-style gym, there is plenty of boxing chops being earned, learned and ground into the minds and bodies of tomorrow's fighters, but EOBA is so much more than a training facility. EOBA is an entire community, dedicated to the enrichment of Oakland and focused on the youth that is in most need of help.
Founded in 1987 by former Golden Gloves champion Stanley Garcia (pictured above in the middle), the East Oakland Boxing Association has grown into a community center that offers academic tutoring, gardening instruction, mentoring, karate, boxing, a food bank and several other services for the Oakland community. You only need to walk through its buildings for a few minutes, listening to conversations and watching interactions, to realize that the employees, volunteers and students all see EOBA as much more than a disparate grouping of activities. It's a home to them.
I could go on and on about the feel of this place and the impact it's had on Oakland, but it's easier to show you. Check out this short documentary we put together about the people, stories and hopes behind EOBA.
Like most nonprofit organizations, EOBA survives on the generosity of caring individuals. If you would like to support EOBA's mission to enrich the lives of Oakland youth, whether it's by donating funds, food or volunteering, please visit EOBA's website today or contact Whitney Greswold, the development associate, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 510-430-8056.
Don't forget to show EOBA some love on social media:
A former college wrestler, Taekwondo black-belt, and wannabe boxer, Paul Navarro (aka Fight Like Sugar) is now a full-time lawyer, part-time fight scribe, and high school wrestling coach.