In her seven plus years at the Downtown Boxing Gym, Ken Cain has truly made a mark – as a diligent student, a leader among her peers, a talented artist, and even a member of the DBG staff. At the young age of 15, Ken got her first-ever job as an assistant in the DBG STEAM Lab, a job she continues to do today. The soon-to-be Cass Technical High School graduate was chosen for the role because of her strong work ethic and natural leadership and communications skills.

“I’ve always been helping here as a positive leader,” Ken says. “Being a leader at DBG has taught me to be a leader outside of the building – I know how to work with people and know how to communicate better than I did before I came to the Downtown Boxing Gym.”

Ken’s hard work has truly made her family, her DBG family, and her fellow students proud. She says a lot has changed since she first walked through the door as an elementary school student so many years ago.

“Before, I was just a kid that went with the flow – I didn’t know what I wanted,” she says. “DBG helped me find myself and helped me find a purpose. They just made me feel safe and taught me life skills that I will use for the rest of my life.”

In her time at DBG, Ken has found her voice. She also found a mentor and friend in founder Khali Sweeney. 

“He taught me to believe in myself and always follow the right path,” she says. “Khali taught me to always look for growth because no one is perfect. His grind shows vividly to me because he’s always here, and he’s always working. Seeing that shows me I need to stay focused and do what I need to do to get to a better place.” 

Ken intends to be a lifelong learner. She loves mathematics and art, too. She has helped many of her fellow students improve in math and develop analytical thinking skills.

“I teach them how to look at it in different ways so they understand it better,” she explains. 

Through so many years and so many memories at DBG, one thing she says stands out the most was learning how to ride a horse during one of our summer programs. It was her first time trying something like that – so far outside of her comfort zone.

“I did a horse camp. I learned how to ride a horse and that’s a skill that many people don’t have,” she says. “That goes to show how many different broad experiences DBG gives students.”

Ken describes DBG as “the greatest place on earth.” She has truly been an inspiration and a role model to her peers. All of us at DBG are proud of her work and excited to see what the future brings. We wish Ken and the DBG Class of 2022 all the best as you go out into the world with the life-skills you’ve learned. We’ll be with you every step of the way.