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South Side Pastor Teaching Children, Teens Life Lessons Through Boxing

CHICAGO (CBS)-- When you think of the sport of boxing, you don't often think of children and teens.

CBS 2's Ryan Baker recently met a South Side pastor who's using the ring to help young people learn about life and overcoming adversity.

At the Ring of Hope community center, these lessons are taught.

"We're able to teach them boxing is not necessarily a tool of violence; but really they call it a sweet art, it's a science," Pastor Anthony Wright said. "It's a sweet science"

Through Wright's boxing program, boys and girls channel their fears, frustrations and energy.

"We try our best to give them coping skills while they're here; in terms of anger management,  communication skills, conflict resolution skills," Wright said.

Zachary Carter is 17 years old and has been boxing since he was 10. He says it teaches him about life.

"How to have discipline, how to have respect towards your opponent, and also to never quit," Carter said. "When you are in the ring, it's you and your opponent, but it's also you versus yourself."

Carter learned that from his coach, who's also his dad.

"We all know life can knock you down, but you've got to get back up. I mean, that's boxing," Coach Kali Carter said.

Now, Pastor Wright is taking his mission beyond boxing to a building on the West Side. He's transforming it into a mental health wellness center, to meet a growing need.

"I work with kids who have actually witnessed gun violence, and they tell me things like, 'I cannot get the images out of my mind.' Not to mention the fear they have with just leaving their house and going to school," He said. "We're trying to build a facility where they're able to come in with contact with licensed physicians and get some long-term help."

Pastor Wright has many other programs for kids, all aimed at building confidence and life skills.

There's a double-dutch team, a media lab where they can express themselves, and even a t-shirt printing project with local police officers as some of the customers.

There's also a community food pantry.

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