The Wyndham Police Citizens Youth Club is giving young people a chance to learn life skills through the discipline of boxing.
The Werribee-based club, also known as PCYC, is supported by the YSAS Youth Support and Advocacy Service, Wyndham police, Australian Trade Training and Assessment (ATTA) and the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA).
Boxing Australia coach Vince Marino, who is senior coach at the PCYC, said that he approached police to set up the club around two years ago.
Young people, mostly aged under 20, train at the club from Monday to Friday.  Mr Marino said the club was also involved in Regional Victorian Boxing training camps and events.
While youths interested in boxing can be referred to the PCYC by police or social workers, any young person interested in the sport is welcome.
“Some people think you just get straight into the ring and fight, but it’s much more about training,” Mr Marino said.
“It’s important for the kids to know it’s about more than punching pads – there’s a discipline involved as well, there is camaraderie, respect and hard work.”
Several young boxers from the club – including Mr Marino’s 18-year-old son Regan, 17-year-old Marissa and 13-year-old Kyleisha – are preparing for the state titles, to be held next week.
Mr Marino said some of the young boxers at the PCYC were from Maori, Pacific Islander, South-Sudanese and indigenous Australian backgrounds.
“There is a lot of encouragement there and cultural diversity, everyone mixes together and everyone is welcome,” he said.
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