Keeping kids off the streets is the program’s goal
■ Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Editor
With the number of single parent households on the rise in the state, community members like Pastor Jesse Cuaron of Living Way Church realized that local kids need the ability to engage in positive and productive after school activities. The church started the Heavy Hitters Boxing Club. The program is free and the church funds the entire program.
The boxing program is there to serve the community in “the area it is needed most,” said Cuaron.
“When we first got this property seven years ago, the first thing I said was ‘one day we are going to have a gym,’” said Cuaron. “I just saw it.”
Cuaron felt that the church needed to make an impact. He brought his family to Hemet 12 years ago for a better environment.
“Heavy Hitters ministry was founded on a vision, and much prayer, to reach our valley’s youth,” according to Living Way’s website. “We provide a safe Christian environment and family atmosphere where kids can receive mentoring and guidance. It is our hope that through the sport of boxing, our youth will put their feelings, passion and emotions into something positive and come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
The program is for kids ages 7 – 17 and operates Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 5 – 6:30 p.m. The program started March 11 with about five kids and currently has more than 30 participants. With so many children participating, they need to expand and add security measures. In order to fund the expansion, donations are needed.
The majority of the equipment was donated mostly by mom-and-pop places, said Cuaron, and the church is still paying off the boxing ring.
Hemet Police Deputy Chief Rob Webb said in an email that is now posted on the church’s website, “Pastor Jesse is one of the few in Hemet actually dealing with the problems that we see daily. His church is in a rough part of town and he’s really making a difference.”
“About five years ago I was one of five pastors who were invited to a luncheon over in Valle Vista; I didn’t know what it was for,” said Cuaron. “They didn’t tell us but when I got there, there were 12 tables.”
Cuaron sat next to Webb and they exchanged phone numbers. They kept in touch and Cuaron invited HPD out last Thanksgiving for dinner. Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown and Lt. Eric Dickson showed up. They will be inviting HPD out again this year for Thanksgiving dinner, said Cuaron.
They are talking about incorporating an after-school tutoring program into the Heavy Hitter’s program as well.
Cuaron created a GoFundMe account in September and hopes to reach $1,500 to purchase a security door, outdoor lighting and an alarm system. Show your support for the program by going to gf.me/u/dd547s.
Contact Living Way church office at 951-293-4265 or coach Bobby at 951-665-9368. The Living Way Church is located at 144 N. Palm Ave., Hemet. For more information, you can visit http://www.livingwayhemet.org/heavy-hitters.html.