INDIANAPOLIS — It's pugilism with a cause on the west side of Indianapolis.
As part of the city's Safe Summer Program, which has served almost 700 kids since it began last month, Shane Shepherd, the CEO of Before You Fall , has a lot of experience from which to teach.
"I started off in group homes, juvenile boy schools, state prison, federal prison," Shepherd said.
And just like a boxer in the ring, that experience can come in handy in a fight or a conflict on the streets.
"What we trying to do is give some people a different place to go on a Friday night," Shepherd said. "Not only do we keep you safe but we give you tools to work with."
It's more than just teaching a 1-2 punch. It's about providing tools to avoid conflict.
"So when you do go out and you confront a little situation, it might kick in your brain, 'I remember when he said it's OK to be afraid. Best thing I can do is just be quiet and try to get away,'" Shepherd said.
Shepherd grew up in Indianapolis, and he's trying to give back. He's not the only one.
Indianapolis' own Lamon Brewster grew up in Haughville and is a regular at these Friday night lessons serving as the main boxing trainer at the American Top Team Gym. As Indiana's only heavyweight champion, he is the perfect teacher.
"To be able to see these kids and say listen, 'I know how you feel I felt like you. I know how you're thinking. I thought like you,'" Brewster said.
That's why Brewster is so glad to play a role.
"What (Shepherd is) doing is bring kids that need this hope," Brewster said.
And Brewster shares his message and the lessons he learned on the path to the heavyweight championship.
"They need to see that if you make these sacrifices in life, you can and you will be successful," Brewster said.