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Boxing / Editorial

Rings, Ropes & Raising Hope

Lou Eisen / October 16, 2012 - 10:32am

Professional boxing has a long and storied history of helping out troubled youths and teens in various high risk neighborhoods throughout Canada and the United States. With just a little bit of hope and guidance, many of these troubled kids often grow up to accomplish amazing things. Mike Tyson and George Foreman come to mind when talking about at-risk youths who turned their lives around and accomplished something substantial.

One such organization in Toronto, Canada hoping to make such a difference is MJKO, which is an acronym for a dynamic, charitable organization, Mentoring Juniors Kids Organization, which facilitates and provides extra-curricular activities to youths living in at-risk areas in Ontario. Their motto is, "Train. Prepare. Believe."

MJKO helps mentor kids 6-18 years of age via non-contact boxing. MJKO offers a wide array of different programs in various areas of interest such as music, arts and crafts, math, language skills, diet and physical fitness. MJKO is trying to instill a strong sense of self-worth in all of these kids so as to get them to start believing in themselves again.

A young child full of confidence really has no limits in this world. It is getting them to feel good about themselves that always proves to be the toughest part of the battle. MJKO is endeavoring to educate these children about diet, fitness and the rewards of volunteerism. Why are diet, physical fitness and volunteering emphasized so much? Well, think about it. These are the three specific areas in which children can exercise total control over their lives. And, by so doing, they can build up their battered self-esteem.

On October 18th, MJKO will be hosting their first annual benefit in Toronto entitled, Rings, Ropes, and Raising Hope from 6 to 9 pm in the Shamba Space, located at 48 Yonge Street (between Yonge and Wellington,) suite 1200.

MJKO is not your average boxing program. They teach at-risk children many very important and practical life skills in the areas of math and language. Executive Director Miranda Kamal, recently told the Fight Network, that when her husband Ibrahim Kamal traveled the world boxing, he needed to know how to convert his money while abroad into the currency of whichever country he was fighting in. Ibrahim also needed to learn how to convert his weight from lbs. to kgs. These are skills many of us take for granted. Unfortunately, many at-risk children cannot make the same claim.

Miranda noted that language skills are such an important focus of what MJKO does because so many of the youth who attend the programming they offer speak more than one language. MJKO helps them teach each other things like "hello," "thank you," and "good game." They let their kids know that Canadian's are known as good sports around the world.

MJKO is volunteer-centered organization, headed up by Executive Director Miranda Kamal. Miranda is a recipient of the Trailblazer Coach Award and has been recognized by the Ontario Coaches Association for Excellence in Coaching.  Miranda's husband is the fast-rising, undefeated Toronto based lightweight prizefighter, Ibrahim Kamal. Miranda manages her husband's successful and growing career.

Miranda took time to explain how Canadian boxing great Egerton Marcus not only taught her how to box but, from day one, also showed her all about the power of giving back to the community. Marcus instilled in Miranda the firm belief that boxing can really change peoples lives for the better. Marcus is one of the board members for MJKO. Marcus has greatly influenced a generation of young Canadian boxers and continues to act as a role model and a very positive influence for many of today's at-risk youths.

There is a consensus in Canadian boxing circles that Canadian born Kamal's dazzling hand speed and crushing power will one day soon help him become the undisputed Canadian lightweight champion. There are also many boxing insiders who believe that Ibrahim has the potential and skill set to one-day challenge for the prestigious lightweight championship of the world.

Miranda was recently chosen as the 2012 S.E.L.F. Award Winner, which is evidence of how sporting success runs deep in the Kamal family. Indeed, Miranda has won enough awards for athletic achievement and coaching excellence to fill a large book. It is not an exaggeration to say that Miranda and Ibrahim are quickly becoming Canada's next young, power couple in Canadian sport.

There is something even more remarkable about the Kamal's than their tremendous accomplishments in sport. What makes this couple so unique and greatly admired by their peers, is their relentless insistence on giving back to kids at risk in their communities. They always back up their words with actions. When they make a promise to a child, they keep it.

Like most young working couples, the Kamal's do not have time to spare from their busy schedules and burgeoning career paths. However, unlike many others, they adamantly insist on making the necessary time available to give back to those youngsters who are most in need.  Helping kids is not only what they do; it is also who they are at the core of their beings. They firmly believe that helping these at-risk kids today will make for a better tomorrow for the community as a whole and the at-risk kids in particular.

Ibrahim Kamal will be hosting Rings, Ropes and Raising Hope. One of the celebrity guest speakers taking part will be TSN sportscaster Cabral "Cabbie" Richards. The evening also includes hors d'oeuvres, refreshments and entertainment. The proceeds raised by the event will directly benefit MJKO. Why is it important where the proceeds go? Well, primarily because MJKO is a volunteer run charity and all of the programming they offer their youth is absolutely free. Every cent raised is geared to helping at risk youth.

Without the financial help of all those people attending this benefit, MJKO would be unable to provide essential programming to many communities in dire need of such programming. For many at-risk youth in these communities, MJKO is their last hope before they give up on themselves.

Probably the most important person speaking at the event will be a young seventeen year-old man who was helped by MJKO. He will talk about how MJKO helped him turn his life around and the positive impact they have had on his life.

Many youth right here in Toronto are struggling daily for a place to belong.  They often don't have food to eat, a roof over their head, basic necessities, running shoes, clean clothes or even someone to hug them when life's challenges become too much. MJKO is making a visible difference to so many at-risk neighborhood children who are in dire need of warm meals, hope for the future and a chance to believe in themselves once again.

For contact info regarding MJKO and Rings, Ropes and Raising Hopes, please contact Miranda Kamal at (416) 886-7390. You can also email Miranda about this very worthy benefit event at Miranda.kamal@mjko.ca

You can purchase tickets online for $50 at http://ringsropesandraisinghope.eventbrite.com/

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $60.

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