Nonprofit uses boxing to keep kids off the street

A young man practices on the speed bag.

Nonprofit uses boxing to keep kids off the street
January 05
04:40 2017

Submitted photo



Finding ways to keep at -risk youth away from trouble can be an arduous task.  David Villada, founder and director of Beating up Bad Habits, has found an outlet for young people to release stress along with keeping them in a positive environment by introducing them to boxing.

Beating up Bad Habits is a local boxing community program.  The program dedicates itself to the youth of the south side of Winston-Salem and surrounding areas for children ages 8 and above.  The program caters to the at-risk youth who may need an outside influence to help them move in the right direction.

According to sources, Beating up Bad Habits is devoted to the success of each and every participant. Leaders of the program ensure each youth is doing well by requesting report cards and progress reports so they can provide assistance in academic areas as well as training in the ring. They allow youth who show progress in technique, skill and academics to compete in boxing events.

Villada says he started Beating up Bad Habits four years ago because he could no longer ignore the at-risk youth who were there in his community.

“People always ask, “Why do you deal with these kids and all these headaches?’ I tell them it’s my blessing,” says Villada. “I come from Connecticut in an inner city, so I try and tell the kids that they don’t have to follow other people’s footsteps down the wrong path.”

Villada says they have around 75 kids enrolled in the program and serve around 25 to 30 kids on a daily basis.  Currently they have 13 kids registered to the U.S.A. Boxing League who fight in the amateur ranks.

He says they not only focus on the kids inside of the ring, but they make sure the kids are performing in the classroom as well as in the home.

Villada does not have a background in boxing but had a friend who did. Kerry Smith, owner of champion Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and boxing gym, opened his door to allow the program to prosper.  Smith is a local family man who genuinely cares about the future of the youth.

During the summer, Villada says, he likes to take the kids out on outings such as bowling, swimming, golf and skating.  He says many of the participants would not be able to enjoy such things without the program.

“Beyond keeping them off the streets, teaching them the art of boxing and give them structure and discipline, we are also trying to give them physical and mental awareness of life to prepare for a future,” Villada said when speaking about why a youth should join his program.

For those interested in more information about Beating up Bad Habits, visit or email the organization at

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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