MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Each Tuesday, as part of our Community Changers series, we highlight organizations making Memphis better. This week, we caught up with a group empowering young men from the inside out.

Monday through Thursday, you’ll find seventeen year old Elijah Muhammad jumping rope and throwing combos on the punching bag.

“The creativeness in boxing is really my favorite part. In mixing up combos,” Elijah said.

Elijah is a member of the Bevo Boys Fitness Academy. It’s a non profit organization that trains inside the McFarland Community Center. Kenneth Cole or Coach Kenny as the kids know him, is the founder.

“Come in here and teach them the basic fundamentals of boxing,” Coach Kenny said.

Boxing is the hook, but it’s much more than learning the proper way to box.

“I just want them to be inside. Off the streets and keeping them occupied,” Coach Kenny said.

For William Muhammad, Elijah’s dad, it was finding an activity his son could connect with.

“We tried soccer, we tried jujitsu, we tried track. He did it but he wasn’t necessarily into it,” William said.

Elijah has been homeschooled since first grade, so social interaction was key. When Mr. Muhammad introduced Elijah to Coach Kenny and boxing. It just clicked.

“It wasn’t like, ‘Elijah, it’s time to go to practice.’ It was like, ‘Are we going to practice today,'” William said. “I’m so proud. But that’s what happens with Bevo Boys. Because working with coach allowed him to come out of his shell.”

“Boxing has helped me be a teacher. To help others and to teach others,” Elijah said.

This is why our anonymous donor wanted to give Bevo Boys Fitness Academy a thousand dollars. Because when you teach confidence in an out of the box kind of way, kids will always connect.

A true Community Changer.