Thanks to members of the Northwest Ohio Building and Construction Trades, Toledo’s inner city youth will have a warm place to attend an afterschool program.
A dozen third-year apprentices from Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 Toledo District spent about 250 man-hours to install a furnace, put up ductwork and fix the air conditioner in the building of Soul City Boxing Club, a non-profit organization serving the area’s youth.
Soul Boxing Club operates out of a former barbershop and the unit’s furnace broke down with winter fast approaching. The organization reached out to the community and raised several thousand dollars, but it was not enough.
Local 33 Business Representative and Toledo Councilman Matt Cherry said the District found out about Soul’s problem from a local newspaper article and decided they needed to do something to help.
Soul Boxing Club provides education and tutoring services, hot meals and after school activities such as general fitness classes, yoga and meditation, wrestling and boxing to the neighborhood’s children, many of whom are underprivileged. Cherry and a few contractors did not want to see the much-needed program shutdown due to cold weather.
“Soul City does so many great things for their kids in the inner city and we wanted to help them stay warm,” said Cherry. “The kids there have dreams and we at Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 want to keep those dreams alive.”
Local contractors VM Systems and M&M Heating and Cooling, along with SMW 33 stepped into the ring and donated materials and labor exceeding $30,000.
Cherry was proud of the work performed by the apprentices and stressed the need to get the younger generation, especially Local 33 apprentices, involved with these types of projects because it shows them what it means to give back to the community.
“If you get them involved early and place that special feeling inside of them when they complete a project like this for people in our community, then they (apprentices) will not hesitate to put on the tool belt and participate in additional future volunteer projects.”
The Northwest Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council thanks Sheet Metal Workers 33 and their contractors for their community outreach effort and for positively effecting the lives of Toledo’s inner city youth.