Some say boxing is the perfect combination of mental and physical therapy.
That’s exactly what a gym in Pomona is providing for people of all ages, especially those who are dealing with mental health issues.
But now that the gym is facing possible closure, the owner is hoping the public can help keep it open.
Oliver Castillo, a youth boxer who is 13 years old, says boxing is the best physical therapy.
“It gets my mind off of stuff and keeps me focused on what I want to do.”
He also says it’s the best mental therapy.
“Money problems, family problems, stuff like that. How does this place help you? A lot…”
Castillo can’t help but get emotional when he thinks about the tough personal challenges in his life.
That’s why he’s training at the Self Care Lab in Pomona, a USA certified boxing club founded by Nita Watson.
“A lot of research has proven that intense exercise really does help reduce the symptoms of PTSD, depression and anxiety,” Watson said.
She says she opened the gym in her hometown of Pomona to keep kids away from gangs, but also to bring people of all colors together.
“We have all walks of life that come here. Speaking one language, safety, self-care, and mental health. That’s what this program is all about.”
The gym is now in jeopardy because Watson’s landlord sold the property.
In less than a month, it’ll close unless Watson gets enough donations on the gym’s GoFundMe page to move to another location.
Gym member, Wendy, says she can’t imagine what her life would be like without the physical and mental relief she gets from boxing.
“I am a survivor of domestic violence and sexual abuse, and I suffer from pretty severe anxiety and depression. I don’t know a safe place that I can go to and feel safe. I don’t know another place that would encompass a whole family. This is my second family.”
A family that’s hoping to find a new home, so kids like Castillo will have a fighting chance at a better future.
“Cause if I don’t have this, I don’t know what I would have been doing,” Castillo said.
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