Overall Program

The Downtown Boxing Gym was founded in 2007 by internationally recognized coach and
youth mentor, Khali Sweeney. He opened the doors to our free, after-school academic and
athletic program (as we do every weekday) with passion, purpose and a mission to help
young people succeed.

Over the years, our team has grown to include our professional academic staff, volunteer
tutors, coaches and others to provide the resources and educational opportunities our
students need and deserve. Growing up, Khali didn’t have those things and he struggled. He
founded DBG to ensure students in and around the Detroit area have the support they need
to learn, thrive and accomplish great things. We’re proud to have a 100% high school
graduation rate since 2007. At DBG, we train kids for life.

DBG serves 150+ amazing boys and girls from 30 different zip codes and 57 schools across Detroit and nearby suburbs, each with their own unique talents and dreams.
Our students at DBG range in age from 8-18 years old, or 3rd-12th grade, and we continue to provide support to our students once they go off to college, through their junior year.
Our after-school program is 100% FREE to all students. That includes academic support, tutoring, mentorship, athletics, SAT/ACT prep, college and career readiness, nutritious meals, transportation and more, Monday-Friday, all-year-round. The only form of “payment” we require is that our students “pay it forward” and engage in community service projects 4 times a year.

DBG is funded through generous donations from foundations, corporations and individual
donors in our local community and around the world. We are truly thankful for this support
which helps to change young lives. If you’d like to learn more or make a donation, click here.
We are proud to be a ‘Crain’s Best Managed Nonprofit’ finalist.

We know the demand for our services is great. We currently have a waiting list and we’re
working hard to change that. When space opens up, we select students from our waiting
list, with a priority given to family members of current DBG students and students who are already enrolled at the schools that are existing partners of DBG.

Click here to learn more.

All incoming students sign a handbook that outlines our requirements and expectations for
successful participation in our program.

Some of the basics include:

  • Students must be 8-18 years of age
  • Have current report cards on file
  • Attend our program a minimum of 3 days per week
  • Align with DBG’s mission and family values
When the program is full, a student’s application will remain on file. At the beginning of each school year, we contact parents of students who remain on our list to update their application. New students are then selected based on program availability.
Endless possibilities. Caring, compassionate support from staff members, coaches and community volunteers. Real talk. A safe place to learn, grow and try new things. A family atmosphere. The chance to explore college and career possibilities and develop discipline, focus and life-direction. SAT/ACT prep. The opportunity to apply for internships and college scholarships. Exposure to corporate and community leaders, professional athletes, musicians and others. Plus: tutoring, mentorship, academic support, nutritious meals, athletics, enrichment programs (like computer coding, art and music), community service opportunities and so much more.


That’s tough to pinpoint. Our fleet of vans is packed daily and there’s no way to accurately estimate exactly when transportation will become available. Generally, when a student gets a seat on a van route, that seat is their seat until: they no longer need transportation, they move out of our service area, or they fail to meet our transportation or program requirements.
DBG has a fleet of 8 vans, generously provided by GM Fleet and the Dresner Foundation. One of our vans was donated in 2019 by the Detroit Lions and Ford Motor Company. We are truly grateful for this support, which enables our program to keep moving forward.

Each van carries up to 14 DBG students and 1 driver. Our drivers are a critical part of our DBG
team. They’re the first to greet our students after school each day, and the last to get them
safely back home each night.

Our vans travel all across the city of Detroit and nearby suburbs within a 20-mile radius of
our address at 6445 E. Vernor Hwy in Detroit. Click here for an animated map of our van

We pick students up from 30 different schools across Detroit and its closest suburbs.

We pick up students every weekday, Monday through Friday, between 2:40 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. Our program concludes at 7:00 p.m. and students are home by 8:45 p.m. each night.


We use a Fountas & Pinnell instruction model that has been adapted for after-school
programs through a partnership with another local non-profit, Center for Success. This
innovative approach uses independent learning opportunities including: interactive,
read-aloud, shared reading, phonics/spelling/word study lessons, guided reading and more.

Click here to learn more.

The Downtown Boxing Gym’s high school graduation rate is 100% – a track record of
success that has continued every year since 2007. Many of our DBG graduates are currently
in college studying to become architects, engineers, computer scientists, law enforcement
officials and more. They are our future leaders and we are so proud!


Every student who attends DBG has the chance to try his/her hand at boxing. We provide
gloves, heavy bags, workout equipment, boxing rings and the coaching and supervision each
child needs. While most of our students box for enjoyment and a great workout, we also
have a small handful of youth boxers who compete locally, regionally and nationally.

Khali believes that you can learn more from a person during an hour of play than a lifetime of
questioning and that’s why physical fitness is an important component of our program. DBG
offers exposure to a wide variety of sports, everything from soccer and lacrosse to kickball,
indoor rock climbing, swimming, kayaking, yoga, horseback riding and of course, boxing.
Students participate in daily physical activities and group workouts.

Volunteer Opportunities

We are truly thankful for our dedicated volunteers and the spirit of community they bring to
DBG. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities available throughout the year including
tutoring, event support, help with our facilities (moving/organizing/cleanups) and
administrative projects like mailings. We also love to bring in volunteers to teach various
workshops. Because consistency and building relationships are essential for our students’
success, we ask our volunteer tutors to commit to at least one hour per week for a whole
semester. We have projects available for groups and individuals. Click here to learn more.

There are so many ways to support DBG. Here are just a few: