We could not do what we do without our amazing volunteers! This is part of a series of blog posts to spotlight and celebrate the professionals from all over metro Detroit who give of their time and talents to help our students every single day. We are truly thankful for our volunteers and the spirit of community they bring to the Downtown Boxing Gym. Together, we are changing lives and helping make our students’ dreams come true.

Liz Garvin may have moved here from Chicago, but her heart is in Detroit now.

“When I was moving to Detroit I was hoping to find a volunteer gig,” Garvin says, “so I emailed the Downtown Boxing Gym and was like, ‘Hey, I boxed in college, do you need any help?’ and they were like, ‘Yes, but we really need academic tutors.’”

Garvin, 27, is an experienced boxer who’s also great at math. She started out tutoring students, mostly in math, before gravitating over to the gym where she now volunteers twice a week as a trainer.

Her own personal journey to boxing is an interesting one. Garvin is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a degree in finance and economics. While in college, spurred by some of the girls she knew in her dorm, she joined the women’s boxing program called Bakara Bouts. Founded in 1997, Baraka Bouts is the largest all-female club at Notre Dame. The club pairs service with athletic ability; participants help raise money for the Holy Cross Missions in East Africa.

“To everyone’s surprise, I ended up being pretty good at it,” she says.

Liz eventually rose to become captain and president.

These days, Garvin lives in Detroit and works as a senior analyst for Mission Throttle, an advisory firm that works with nonprofit organizations to analyze their financial health, create sustainable strategies and generate opportunities for revenue. She visits the gym on Mondays and Thursdays and helps to run students from grades 2 through 6 through calisthenics, races, pushups, sit-ups and lunges with fellow trainer Kadeem Anderson.

When she’s not working or volunteering, Liz is busy planning her wedding this summer to her fiancé, Sean Wolohan, who works as a teacher at a nonprofit charter school in Harper Woods. The two met at Notre Dame.

Garvin believes it’s important for girls who attend the Downtown Boxing Gym to see a woman in the ring as a role model, even if they have no interest in boxing themselves. She says she looks forward to each week at the gym helping our students learn, grow and thrive through academics and athletics.

“I just really believe in the work that DBG is doing,” Garvin says. “Some of the coaches and volunteers have gone through the program themselves, and I just think they’re incredible role models.”

The Downtown Boxing Gym depends on committed volunteers like Liz to fulfill our mission. In addition to weekly tutoring and mentoring, we offer opportunities to volunteer during one-time events, and help with building and grounds maintenance and administrative duties. Or tell us how you think you can help! Check out our volunteering page to learn more.