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Boxing trainer Snowell, community honored before June 11 camp start
by Carrie C. Causey
FRANKLINTON — The community has received international attention thanks to a group of concerned residents who had a dream and an initiative to help youths have a constructive place to go during the summer.
Jill Diamond of World Boxing Council’s World Boxing Cares visited Franklinton Tuesday afternoon to recognize international boxing trainer Aaron Snowell for his efforts in the free initiative, which offers two weeks of camp for more than 400 kids, including a medical exam and daily meals free of charge.
World Boxing Cares, founded and chaired by Diamond, is a nonprofit that helps impoverished children and others in crisis stricken areas in more than 164 countries.
Tuesday, Snowell was given an award and named the World Boxing Cares ambassador for the area. Diamond said she was touched by everything she’d heard about the camp and, looking out at the crowd of people packed in the Franklinton Middle School (old Franklinton High) Gym, said she was jealous at seeing “a real community.”
“Aaron has the enthusiasm to move mountains and I’m so proud and pleased,” Diamond said, elaborating on Snowell’s experience as trainer for boxing greats like Mike Tyson and Tim Austin. “Now he is taking God’s gift and training new generations — not in boxing, but their bodies and minds to makes sure there is joy in a world where that doesn’t always happen.”
It takes a community
Snowell’s first order of business was to award and recognize all of the community partners who have made the third annual summer camp possible.
The saying “It takes a village to raise a child” has never been truer when it comes to putting the camp together — encompassing people from all walks of life and sharing their talents and resources for a common goal.
Overarching contributors are Snowell, Martha Ann Hunter and Fannie Brown, plus members of Bridges of Hope Outreach Ministry, Helping Hands Pal Inc., New Liberty Outreach Ministry, First United Church of Christ, For a Brighter Future and Allen Metropolitan AME Zion Church.
“I want to say thank you for making my dream come true,” Hunter said, later holding up a sign that said, “Sometimes it takes 1,000 people to make one dream come true.”
The recognition was also shared by law enforcement personnel, including Franklinton Police Chief John Green and Officers T. Strickland and B. Manson, plus Franklinton town staff.
“I was trying to get it to make it happen,” Snowell said of the early planning stages. “I couldn’t make it happen and I ran into (Town Manager) Tammy Ray. She said, ‘Let me make a phone call.’ She made a couple phone calls and we’ve never looked back.”
Ray said simply she relates to his vision for wanting to help the community’s youth, having grown up in Franklinton and raised her own children there.
“For me, youth are our future and if you don’t invest in them, you are not investing in the future,” she said.
The camp also takes the help of Franklin County, 4-H, volunteers to cook the food and Snowell’s wife, Dr. Stephanie Brown, and other nurses to do the medical examinations, among countless others.
“This community is a jewel,” Snowell said.
Sign up for camp June 11
While Tuesday was a time for celebration, the volunteers have worked countless hours to get ready for this year’s camp, which includes sports events, crafts, motivational speakers, tutoring, among others.
Signups are June 11 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Franklinton Middle School gym, 6948 N. Cheatham St. Parents must be there, and all youth will receive a free physical during that time before they can participate.
The 2013 free youth summer camp takes place weekdays June 12-21 at the Franklinton Middle gym from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with breakfast and lunch provided. All youth ages 6-18 are welcome to attend.