Air date: March 13, 2014
He works in a ring, but Carlos Sweeny, or Coach Kali as he’s known, isn’t trying for a crown. He’s trying to save lives. . Khali: I grew up on the east side there was no lights and gas at times and no food if you cant fight you know you were going to be that kid that got picked on. He took a bullet to his shoulder, which ended his boxing dreams. A high school drop out, he was often in trouble and dangling by a thread. Khali: My older brother one day he said he told me uh he said all of your friends are dead or in jail, my brother. Khali didn’t want to be one of them. He decided to change his life–and others–by opening the downtown boxing gym for youth. He knew kids would try it. Khali: Can you imagine this I am going to an afterschool program you know kids might laugh at you but if you say I am going to a boxing gym kids like oh that is cool I want to come down there with you. Once they arrive, it’s books before boxing. The gym provides computers, volunteer teachers, and an emphasis on discipline – for the brain as well as the brawn. Khali: We have people like Teach for America we have very educated tech people come down and work with the kids So when you want to know about calculus you go in there and talk to the math teacher but if you want to know about life lessons you come to Khali. Khali has enrolled over 300 kids the past eight years, most of them graduating high school. And despite the demands for academics and community service. There’s now a waiting list of more than 100, which has him searching for a new building. Khali: What moves me the most is when I see a kid walk across the stage on graduation day. That’s my that is the biggest thrill. It’s something he never experienced, but what he tries to provide others every day, Coach Kali is someone willing to go the distance, for The Heart of Detroit.