NYer of the Week: Reese Scott's Women-Only Gym Trains Champions of Life
When it comes to learning how to box, our New Yorker of the Week is making sure women across the city don't get counted out. NY1's John Schiumo introduces us.
Combat and dance; boxing uses strength, rhythm, and movement. And for young women at the city's first boxing gym just for women, it offers so much more.
"It feels like all this power within is finally coming out," participant Allissa Roman said. "That all this hidden strength I had is — it's just empowering, empowering as a woman."
Standing in their corner is Reese Scott, the founder of the East Harlem gym, Women's World of Boxing.
"I got into boxing about 13 years ago. I was almost 220 pounds, very overweight, very depressed, very low self-esteem," Reese said. "I knew that the boxing gym was my happy place. It was the place where I wasn't sad. It was the place where I felt on top of the world."
Today, Reese provides free clinics to teenagers at schools and non-profits throughout the five boroughs.
On the morning we interviewed her, she was mentoring 11th and 12th graders at The Young Women's Leadership School in East Harlem.
"I wasn't allowed to do certain things, because I was a girl. That didn't make any sense to me," Reese said. "They need an outlet. They need to know that there's a safe space where they can go, they can release, they can talk without being judged."
"She tells us that she's struggled coming up and that she was talked about and bullied, and to see her now as a strong, independent woman and an woman boxer, it's very inspirational for us," participant Chasidy Forbes said.
With every jab, the young New Yorkers at the gym gain a sense of pride and the courage to push for something better.
"You may not be perfect the first time you do it, but as you keep practicing and trying it you get better," 17-year-old participant Milly Dilone said.
"I'm actually going to join her boxing group soon," Roman said. "She's very motivating. She really tells you to put your mind to things, and when she tells me that, I just keep going, I keep striving to do more for her."
"We are hope, and we're not lost, and we have each other, and everything is possible," Reese said.
And so, for giving women a fighting chance, Reese Scott is our New Yorker of the Week.