Grand opening Saturday for Elgin gym focused on at-risk youths

  • Instructors Demetrio Rodriguez, left, and Daniel "Donnie" Villanueva, right, show 12-year-old Nelson Acevedo of Pingree Grove, front left, and 8-year-old Curtis Campbell, of Elgin, a Brazilian jiu jitsu move Thursday in Elgin.

    Instructors Demetrio Rodriguez, left, and Daniel "Donnie" Villanueva, right, show 12-year-old Nelson Acevedo of Pingree Grove, front left, and 8-year-old Curtis Campbell, of Elgin, a Brazilian jiu jitsu move Thursday in Elgin. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/27/2019 12:09 PM

A new Elgin fitness facility run by a nonprofit and focused on low-income, at-risk youths will hold a grand opening Saturday.

O.N.E. Fitness Center is open to everyone and offers beginner and intermediate boxing classes, women's kickboxing, cardio kickboxing, mixed martial arts, jujitsu and more. Classes for youths include jujitsu and boxing for 3- to 7-year-olds. All the instructors are volunteers.

 

The nonprofit also is working to set up after-school programs, said Marcus Banner of Elgin, co-founder of the nonprofit Our Neighborhoods Empowered.

"I have a very committed team of people behind me, and everybody is doing their parts," Banner said. "When they are needed, they step up -- and they step up big."

Banner and the team worked for months to secure donations to open the facility. That included more than $5,000 raised through GoFundMe, equipment donated by Lifetime Fitness in Algonquin and LCCT Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym in Schaumburg, paint donated by Behr Paint Company and more, he said.

Funds also came from Banner's work with the nonprofit for a Kane County sheriff's program for people who are re-entering the community from incarceration, Banner said.

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Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain and Elgin City Council member Tish Powell said they plan to attend the event, which starts at 5 p.m. Saturday at O.N.E. Fitness Center, 24 Tyler Creek Plaza.

There will be "uplifting" local entertainment, exhibition boxing matches by members of the "Hands Up, Guns Down" boxing team and food and drinks for sale, Banner said.

A raffle with $3 tickets will have prizes including jewelry from Nigeria, two children's bikes, boxing gloves and a Bluetooth speaker. The entrance fee is $10.

"It's still almost surreal, but it's the beginning," Banner said. "I don't feel like I accomplished the dream because this is part of the dream. This is a piece of the dream. The ultimate goal is to uplift and change the fate of the low-income minority community."

For more information, visit the gym's website at sites.google.com/oneelgin.org/one/home.

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