Every young person who walks through our doors has experienced some kind of trauma, yet they still show up with hope, strength, and dreams for their future. Providing healthy outlets like organized sport activities, are essential to renew their sense of potential – to build their confidence and belief in themselves and their future. That’s why we tailor our approach to meet each young person wherever they are on their journey, offering them activities aimed at improving their overall health and well-being.
To that end, we provide many programs and services, including a range of recreational activities as diverse as the interests of our youth, such as soccer, yoga, and basketball.
Enter Justin Oracion - an internationally renowned trainer and practitioner of Muay Thai – a martial art boxing sport. Justin owns a local gym and for nearly 10 years he’s been welcoming Covenant House youth once a week, donating his time and expertise to train them in Muay Thai.
“I just want to help people, and to be part of their journey to help them achieve their goals,” Justin says.
He believes learning Muay Thai can play an important role in achieving those goals. “Most people don’t realize that martial arts can build life skills.”
Through Muay Thai, Justin says youth learn discipline and resilience, giving them the confidence they need to focus and meet life’s many challenges. He also believes it’s a powerful way to help them build a community of support.
Rob, a Covenant House youth says his weekly sessions with Justin gave him a foundation and a routine. “Having something to look forward to, kept me on track and helped me grow into the individual I’ve become today.” Rob now acts as a peer mentor, strapping on his gloves and shin guards every week alongside Justin, to introduce a new generation of Covenant House youth to Muay Thai.
Justin points out that others have helped him in life, and now he’s giving back. “Covenant House youth have a safe space to come and learn here,” he says. “That’s a very valuable thing to have in life.”