There’s a rhythm that beats in the air at Ring of Hope Boxing Club in Dallas, where children lightly bounce foot to foot, jabbing with precision and purpose. Their movements are careful and intentional, capturing the attention of everyone around.
Shadowboxing teaches the young boxers muscle memory and discipline to fortify their mental, spiritual and physical strength.
The kids are proud to show off their hard work and talent. The families and leaders are hopeful and thankful for this day to finally arrive.
For months, the Dallas Mavs and Mavs Foundation, along with jersey patch sponsor Chime, worked tirelessly to bring a new tech center to life at the Dallas Leadership Foundation’s Ring of Hope Boxing Club.
Today the doors officially opened.
Dallas Mavs swingman Theo Pinson is on hand to take part in the celebration.
“I want the kids to understand, first of all, how important it is to have these connections,” said Pinson, who inked a new one-year deal this summer. “For them to have that computer lab is important. That’s a huge advantage and I advised all of (the kids) to take advantage of this tech center.”
It’s full of new laptops, furniture, a projector, school supplies and artwork to inspire hope.
“Don’t tell people your plans, show them your results,” a large mural says in the technology lab. In the updated conference room, a futuristic skyline of Dallas is splashed against the walls with bright white clouds.
New dreams and aspirations will be born inside these walls. Families will reconnect. Students will apply for colleges. The older generation will come to learn technology from the children they helped raise. It’s more than a center. It’s a hub of hope.
“We work with 13 different neighborhoods across the city…what you’re doing is bringing needed resources,” said Wil McCall, president of the Dallas Leadership Foundation.
“We work with about 22,000 people here and a lot of those folks are in need of food help, they need their neighborhoods cleaned up and they need help transitioning from prison back to work. We are so excited for this tech center. We are so thankful to the Mavs Foundation, to the Mavericks, for giving us a gift that will allow us to be a gift to this community.”
Ring of Hope started in collaboration with The Bolos Foundation and The Dallas Leadership Foundation back in 2010. Together, they established a place for at-risk Dallas youth to develop physical and spiritual disciplines through training and mentoring, giving the kids hope for a better future. .
The Mavs and Mavs Foundation gave the organization a grant to renovate the facility. When it came time to officially dedicate the new center, Pinson jumped at the opportunity to serve.
He was the perfect man to speak to the children. Many people know about Pinson’s outgoing personality, but few understand the empathy he carries for other people. His mom Barbara says he has a “big, big heart.”
Pinson’s story is one of overcoming odds and finding joy in the midst of the unknown.
After breaking his foot twice in college, Pinson powered through injuries and eventually helped North Carolina clinch the 2017 NCAA Championship. He went undrafted in 2018 and later showed flashes of greatness with various NBA teams, but struggled to find his footing. Then by happenstance the Mavericks got hit hard with COVID-19 last December. Pinson joined the team under a hardship allowance and immediately became a favorite among his teammates.
When the calendar rolled over into 2022, Pinson’s dreams unfolded one after another. He signed a contract with the Mavs, moved to a new city, became a father, and solidified an important role with the Mavs as the team advanced to the Western Conference Finals.
The same heart and spirit that made him a fan favorite in the NCAA has translated well in the NBA. Pinson’s message to the kids at Ring of Hope was about finding purpose and keeping a great attitude.
“Take advantage of what y’all have here,” Pinson told the youth. “Y’all are ahead of the game already. All I want is for you to have fun. You can’t lose the fun part. Even in the NBA, a lot of guys don’t have fun, they’re just out there to get paid. Continue to have fun and take advantage of all these people here trying to support you and your dreams.”
Melissa Williams has seen Ring of Hope’s impact firsthand. She’s a mother to five daughters and purposely stayed in the neighborhood when many people fled. She feels called to build and support the community from within.
“Most of the people here don’t have the basic necessities and with technology being such a big deal now, you need it for everything,” Williams shared. “So the computers are important. This facility is really a blessing. My kids attended the summer camp here and it can be so difficult finding positive things for them to do in the summer. I bring them here and they get positive mentorship. Now they have the tech center and something fun to do.”
The facility is driven by leaders who empower children and teenagers to hope and dream. They start off sessions with talks about an array of topics and leaders then use their own personal stories and testimonies to form relationships.
From there, they transition to the boxing program and physical training.
Leaders say the program teaches the young athletes about sacrifice, accountability, and respect — lessons the kids will need inside the ring and in life.
Mavs Foundation president Katie Edwards said the organization was eager to partner with Chime and bring the vision to life.
“We are so happy to be here,” Edwards told the children gathered during the ceremony.
“This gift is so important for us to give this to the Dallas Leadership Foundation and the neighborhood and community. You guys have some special new things inside….whether that’s for learning, mentorship, after school or summer. It’s also for the community. We are so happy to be able to open the doors and invite everyone today to see all the new renovations.
Technology is playing an important role in Pinson’s life right now, too.
He recently launched a new podcast called “Run Your Race.” His desire is to talk about basketball, but also share insight, advice and hope beyond the court.
Working with the youth Thursday gave him a newfound desire to use his platform to create change. He believes everyone, especially children, deserves a chance to run their own race.
“I think kids and others need to hear that it’s not always smooth-sailing,” Pinson explained. “There’s always ups and downs and it’s about how you take that and move forward. We’re only on this earth one time, so I try to enjoy every single moment that I’m a part of. Honestly, it came from my ups and downs…I’m not going to sit here and waste this moment.”
Neither are the kids.