Hartford boxing program impacted by lack of budget - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hartford boxing program impacted by lack of budget

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The Hartford boxing program is feeling the effects of a lack of budget (WFSB) The Hartford boxing program is feeling the effects of a lack of budget (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

It's a safe place for kids to go after school, and for more than two decades, the Hartford boxing program has been changing lives.

But with no state budget in place, it's now in danger of being knocked out.

Every weekday afternoon for the last four years, you can find Edison Vazquez training at "Bright Futures" in Hartford.

“If I wasn't boxing, I don't know what I’d be doing,” Vazquez said.

For the last 25 years, "Bright Futures" has been changing lives, giving kids like Vazquez the opportunity to stay off the streets and away from a life of crime and drugs.

"I’ve learned to respect others, stay out of trouble, discipline, do well in school because if you don't do well in school you can't come here,” Vazquez said.

Children up to 18 go for free, and over 18 is $50 a year.

The youth center survives on $60,000 annually from the state as well as donations.

With no state budget, they could be forced to shut their doors, leaving children with nowhere to go.

"This is one of the few places that they're safe and able to develop character and develop sportsmanship,” said Hartford State Rep. Edwin Vargas.

"I think it's a great asset and it's something the kids really need,” said Edward Jazlawiecki, who is on the Bright Futures board of directors.

The race is on to give the budget woes a one-two punch to keep Vazquez and so many others in the gym and out of trouble.

"This is a community organization. We work with families and save lives. That's our job,” said George Cruz, Bright Futures founder and executive director.

If you'd like to help the children and keep Bright Futures open, they're holding a comedy night fundraiser next Thursday at the Greater Hartford Church of Christ 1417 Stanley St., New Britain.

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