Mr. Paul Cichon has done some fabulous things as the founder and Boxing Director of The Ring of Champions Society (R.O.C.S.) in Manchester, Connecticut! R.O.C. S. is a nonprofit boxing club geared toward at-risk youth. Paul runs this club on a 100% volunteer basis. The club is dedicated to providing area youths and young adults with education and training in amateur boxing. In addition, Paul has trained a myriad of boxing champions. When speaking of his young athletes Paul says, “First I teach them to stay off the streets. I teach them respect, and then we start to work on the boxing.” Paul was inducted into the Manchester Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
- Paul, did you always know that you wanted to serve others and help today’s youth?
Always! I was an at-risk kid growing up in Holyoke, Massachusettes. Way back in those days the Boys Club really helped me get off the streets and find my way. Ever since those days, I have always known that I wanted to give back.
- Can you walk us through how you first got started in your career path?
I was in a bad motorcycle accident and while I was laid up I was reading the newspaper. The late Earl Everett had written an article in the paper about how he wanted to open up a (PAL) Police Athletic League boxing for Manchester kids to box. I contacted Earl and told him that I wanted to help.
- How did you handle the bumps in the road? Were there any moments when you wondered if all your hard work was worth it?
Boxing is a tough sport. You don’t always win every fight. And you don’t give up when you lose. I have lost some and I haven’t ever given up. What would that be showing to my kids if I gave up when things got tough? I have dealt with the bumps and defeats by showing my kids that if you just don’t quit and just keep going, eventually you can turn it around and win! Bottom line: You have to fight for it!
- Paul, I’m wondering if you can help us understand what you attribute your success to.
Hard work and dedication. The same things you need in boxing. I also attribute a great deal of my success to the kids. Without the kids, we wouldn’t have a gym…
- What do teens need today more than anything else?
Guidance. You have to give them something to do so they don’t find their own thing to do. Many times, too much time on their hands, and them finding their own thing to do, ends up with them in trouble.
- What would you tell a teen who was struggling?
Take a step back and look at everything. Put everything into perspective. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
- What else do you want to tell us about what you do and what you want to eventually be doing?
Nothing else except more of this. I love this! And soon I will be able to retire and do the boxing gym full time. I plan to work with the pros during the days, and amateurs at night.
- Can you please share with all of us something else that I should have asked you?
The gym caters to our youths. We all have room for improvement and we can find some of that improvement in the gym. Also, I have to thank Dr. Brad Daar of Manchester Family Dentist for being such a generous philanthropist, and such a great friend to me and our local youth. Brad pays the rent of the boxing gym each month so our children have somewhere to go to get off the streets and improve themselves. If it wasn’t for people like Dr. Brad Daar, we wouldn’t have a gym. One final note, we are always looking for others to get involved and help out with their time or whatever resources that they may have.
- How can people get in touch with you if they have additional questions?
They can email me at: Cichontko@AOL.com.
Or they can visit our Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Manchester-Ring-of-Champions-Society-Paul-Cichon-Boxing-Director/198673753481328
Thanks for your time Paul and keep up the good work! Our youth needs more people like you!
Author and Speaker of the Granddaddy’s Secrets teen leadership book series.
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