Situated in the middle of a city rife with crime and violence, Dorchester Academy tries its best to provide its students a safe haven from their struggling and dangerous city. With a shake of his head and sadness in his eyes, Superintendent Kwesi Moody explained that with a city full of “low income, poverty, [and] violence”, many of the students felt as if this is how life would always be and there was no way to change their lives. They had nowhere safe to go and nowhere to be kids.
One student recounted how he wanted to play basketball a little later than normal one day. Upon leaving the school, he was jumped by six or seven men and robbed. He didn’t even seem surprised or shocked as he shook his head and said there was nothing he could do about it. One teacher even explains that assaults are so common that students have been attacked just for a pair of sneakers. Many of these assaults even use deadly weapons and guns to take what they want. While the students had become accustomed to living in fear, ESPN’s “Rise Up” decided that this town needed a place for children to be children. They teamed up with the school district to provide a new, updated gym for the kids to escape from their rough neighborhood.
When deciding what surface to lay down, Rubber-Cal stepped in with to provide rubberized surfacing made from durable discarded American passenger car tires. The recycled rubber flooring provided a protectant floor surface, as well as a soft cushion for any of the dropped weights in the lifting room. With a completely renovated gym, the students could feel proud of their school and their training facilities. They acknowledged that they were “the little fish in a big pond”, but that they are ready to keep “pushing and pushing hard against odds” to “write their own story.” While Dorchester is in no way an easy place to grow up, with a safe haven like Dorchester Academy, it is a little easier to stay young for these children.