Khali Sweeney: Founder and CEO
Opening a safe haven for kids who grow up in Detroit’s East Side was what Khali Sweeney had in mind when he opened the doors to Downtown Boxing Gym in 2007. His own history as a Detroit native shapes the curriculum he has developed for the Youth Program that emphasizes books before boxing and community service. Khali shares his knowledge of boxing and his enthusiasm for learning by creating an environment where kids can be themselves, support one another and have the courage to stand up against the pressures that they face every day. Khali’s life changed one day when he realized that everyone he knew was either dead or in jail. He knew that he had to make a difference. A father of two, he is proud of the young adults his children have become as they pursue their college degrees.
Jessica Hauser: Executive Director
Jessica joined Downtown Boxing Gym in 2010. She walked into the gym for fitness training and left with an ambition to make the youth program survive. Once she saw how the kids responded to Coach Khali, she was hooked. She has her bachelor’s degree in political science from Oakland University and is pursuing an advanced degree in International Children’s Rights through the University of Michigan. She has studied with Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Fred Mester and worked with Birmingham Public Schools, developing the school system’s after school programs. Her passion for children and education drives her to tirelessly work toward the growth of DBG’s Youth Program.
Carolyn Geck: Development Director
Carolyn Geck is working to spearhead development and fundraising efforts as Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program continues to grow. Formerly an arts administrator and project manager with Michigan Opera Theatre, she has led initiatives in design, sponsorship, volunteer coordination, production, marketing, and logistics, as well as financial oversight. A member of the Board of Directors for Opera MODO, Carolyn works to promote development of community programs in order to engage wider audiences. She volunteers with Tour de Troit and the March du Nain Rouge, and has lived in the city since 2001.
Kristin Lusk: Academic Coordinator
As Academic Coordinator, Kristin oversees academic programming for our students. Having grown up in the metro Detroit area, she is familiar with the strengths and opportunities that surround our youth. Kristin earned her undergraduate degree in architecture from Lawrence Technological University. After completing her studies, she went on to become Director of Outreach Education for the Detroit Center for Design + Technology. During her time there she taught and authored a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) based curriculum in Education Achievement Authority (EAA) schools, Detroit Public Schools and other metro area school districts. At the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program, Kristin works to further develop the academic opportunities available to our students, including college and career readiness programs, STEM initiatives, academic interventions and enrichment programs.
Mike Mroz: Academic Coordinator
Passionate about education and helping to change the lives of the young people who participate in our free, after-school academic and athletic program, Mike also oversees academic programming for our students. He joined the Downtown Boxing Gym from the Michigan Science Center where he was the traveling science educator. Mike grew up in Rochester Hills and graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in elementary education. Before college, he lived and worked at Disney World, the happiest place on Earth. When you meet Mike, you may notice some of his 39 tattoos. “The majority of them are music related, family, interests, and art that my friends have created,” he says. Mike’s focus is improving grades and educational awareness for each student who participates in our program and, in turn, making a positive and long-lasting impact on students’ lives.
Madeleine Ringwald: Research & Growth
Madeleine manages transportation and various systems for the Downtown Boxing Gym, including matriculation and impact measurement. Originally from Albany, NY, she is a graduate of Georgetown University with a degree in math and philosophy. Madeleine has worked extensively in human and civil rights advocacy, where she fostered a passion for grassroots community work and organizational accountability to those they serve. At the boxing gym, Madeleine works to implement and improve upon existing program systems.
Robin Schwartz: Public Relations & Social Media
Robin serves as the Downtown Boxing Gym’s chief storyteller, overseeing all aspects of communication including PR/media relations, social media, blogs and web content, video production and more. Robin is an Emmy award winning former TV news anchor/reporter with Fox 2 News in Detroit. She also previously served as Director of Public Relations for Dan Gilbert’s real estate company, Bedrock. Robin has a passion for Detroit and its people, the boxing gym, and the ongoing story of our efforts to change lives and help our students thrive. She owns her own PR firm, Robin Schwartz PR. Members of the media can send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.