Community center for children relocates, expands

The Good Fight moved to Jay Street in La Crosse

A community center for at-risk youth in La Crosse has a grand opening at a new location Tuesday.

The Good Fight community center helps teach at-risk youth through the sport of boxing.

The center now has a new location on Jay Street in downtown, doubling its size from its previous location at King on Fifth.

Officials said the new space gives them more ability to help youth in La Crosse who need it the most.

Gabby Mattison isn’t training for a 12-round fight, but she is looking to knockout something else.

“I have social anxiety, so I’m not the greatest with others,” Mattison said.

She takes advantage of The Good Fight, a children’s community center that connects boxing, education, and mentoring to children in La Crosse.

“A lot of people think it’s shear physicality, but there’s a mental side,” Nathaniel Coleman, executive director for the organization, said. “Boxers have to be clever, boxers have to be smart, boxers have to think things through, in the same way, in life, sometimes you can’t negotiate something straight on, you have to think and find a way around or in.”

The organization consistently sees about 35 kids, and its previous location was getting tight.

“It was a fit initially, but as we grew, we needed to do something differently,” Coleman said.

The new space on Jay Street doubles the space for the group, and allows for computers, more study space, and the ability to help kids reach the next step.

“We’re going to have an ACT prep center come September. We have a larger library now,” Coleman said

Mattison said the training made a world of difference.

“I had a job interview the other day, and I did really well because of the skills I learned from going into the ring,” Mattison said.

And it’s helping her deliver a knockout punch for life’s biggest lessons.

“Every day, in and out, just fight the good fight. It will help you in life and in the ring,” Mattison said.

The organization is funded through community donations.

Eight computers were donated to the group from Gundersen Health System.

Volunteers from both Viterbo and UW-La Crosse are also available for tutoring.

Any child aged 10-18 is able to join the organization.

It costs $25 a month to join.