By Frances Esguerra, Writer
Box Up Crime founder Stephen Addison was recognized by the UK New Year Honours for his organization’s community work with youth in the London borough Barking and Dagenham. Awarded at New Year for almost 130 years, the New Year Honours acknowledges and rewards individuals’ outstanding achievements and service to the United Kingdom. The 28-year-old Dagenham native has been awarded the British Empire Medal for teaching non-contact boxing skills to more than 600 youth per week in schools, pupil referral units and community centers. As a former London gang member, Addison created the Box Up initiative to draw young people away from the life that had previously misguided him.
Addison was inspired to change his life around after the loss of close friends to gang violence and a nightmare in which he and his friends served time in prison for murder. Despite being laughed at about his dream, he left his life of crime and applied to South Bank University to study business. Addison, who had been a dedicated boxer until the age of 15 when he got distracted into gangs, rediscovered his love for boxing at university and became an amateur boxing champion. His university was so impressed with his dissertation about setting up a boxing academy that they funded a pilot project in August 2013 for about 100 youth. Since then, Box Up Crime has helped over 4,000 young people develop self-discipline and educational and social skills through boxing training and individual mentorship.
Why We Like It:
Boxing is an ingenious way of promoting character development in the youth as the concept of the sport itself teaches athletes how to respond to pressure in a confined space. Many kids turn to gangs because they feel like there are no other options for them. Box Up Crime does a fantastic job of empowering misguided youth by giving them a place to focus their energy and providing the opportunity to learn from someone who understands firsthand what gang culture can do to a person. Under Addison’s leadership, the social youth organization helps inspire, educate and develop young people into the best versions of themselves.
How It Can Be Improved:
In about five and a half years, Box Up Crime has reached over 4,000 youth and contributed to a 25% drop in crime in Barking and Dagenham. With more funding and support, the organization can help more youth throughout London and, eventually, Europe. Addison’s recognition by the UK New Year Honours can help spread awareness about Box Up Crime’s cause and hopefully inspire others to get involved. More volunteers would help the organization grow and continue to provide the youth with one-on-one mentorship and the tools they need to succeed.
Philanthropy Playmakers is a sports philanthropy consulting firm that advises non-profits, athletes and foundations. Our core competencies include fundraising strategy, strategic planning, marketing, and communications at the intersection of sports and philanthropy. To learn more, contact us.