detroit (1)Ahead of her “Rebel Heart” tour stop at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night, Madonna visited Detroit’s Downtown Boxing Gym on Wednesday.

The Material Girl stopped by the youth gym on Detroit’s east side and visited with children from around 6-7 p.m., said Jessica Hauser, Downtown Boxing Gym’s executive director of fundraising.

Madonna has made several donations to the after-school tutoring program, which helps kids age 7-18 with academics and athletic training.

“She’s so great with the kids,” Hauser said. “She gets right in the mix with them, and she’s right at home with them.”

Madonna’s arrival was preceded by around 20 of her dancers and members of her philanthropy team.

She also donated 100 floor tickets to her Joe Louis Arena concert to the program’s students and their parents, Hauser said.

Madonna posted a pair pictures of her visit to her Instagram page. “Downtown Youth Boxing Gym is the place to be!!” she wrote underneath one of the pictures, which showed her interacting with one of the program’s students.


This is not Madonna’s first interaction with the Downtown Boxing Gym. In 2014, she donated an undisclosed sum of money to the organization which helped move the program from a 4,000-square-foot former car wash on St. Aubin between Warren and Forest — which she also visited — to its new location, a 27,000-square foot facility at the corner of East Vernor and Beaufait.

The free program currently enrolls 65 elementary, middle and high school-aged students at a cost of $1,200 per student, Hauser said. The program runs daily from 2:30-7 p.m. and includes academic tutoring, college preparation, interview training and mentorship in various life skills — not just boxing.

The program was founded in 2007 by Carlo “Coach Khali” Sweeney. Since its inception, it boasts a 100-percent high school graduation rate for its students.

Over the summer Eminem, through his record label Shady Records and his Marshall Mathers Foundation, held a fundraiser for the gym tied to the film “Southpaw.” The amount of money raised was undisclosed, but Hauser said the goal of raising enough money to enroll 15 additional students in the program was reached.

The gym has a waiting list of more than 500 hopefuls.

Source : DetroitNews

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