Our Neighbor: More than a boxing coach

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by CYNTHIA IZAGUIRRE

WFAA

Posted on July 27, 2010 at 3:47 PM

DALLAS - Tuesday's "Our Neighbor" is a knock out. Not only is he a coach, but he's become a mentor for his students.


Coach Carlos Castillo knows what it's like to grow up on the streets. He also knows when you give it your best shot with a child they will likely succeed.

"When they first come here, they're real quiet, no leadership at all," he said. "Some do have it, but the majority we work on those skills."

Castillo is a volunteer coach year-round for the Aguila Azteca Boxing Club in East Dallas. Every night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., he laces up his gloves and teaches neighborhood kids how to stay off the ropes.

"Here, we try to do more than just boxing," he said. "We take them swimming, haunted houses, straight "A" students go camping."

But, because of lack of funding, the boxing club has almost closed a number of times. However, Castillo and his supporters never accept defeat.

"I want the kids to succeed," said Polly Weidenkopf, an area resident who supports the program. "I don't want them to get involved in criminal activity and I don't want them to experience a life of crime or drug addiction. This is something that really prevents that. It's a proven fact."

Many of these kids come from single parent homes and would otherwise be alone in the evenings. Thanks to Castillo, they have a family away from home.

"Probably the greatest person on earth is Carlos Castillo," Weidenkopf said. "He's far more than a coach. He's a mentor; he's a friend; he's a counselor."

The Aguila Azteca Boxing Club is in dire need of funding. With a boxing tournament around the corner, any donation would be greatly appreciated. Don't forget, it's tax deductible.

If you can help or if you know a great person or organization we could feature as an Our Neighbor, contact cizzy@wfaa.com.
 

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