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.

Michael Peyerk grew up in the “sticks,” as he puts it, in tiny Romeo, an upbringing that he says has given him some perspective.

“I grew up with a really good life, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve grown to be more grateful for the things that were given to me as a kid,” he says. “I didn’t have to struggle that much.”

Now 30, Peyerk (pronounced Pair-ick) says he began noticing that many people weren’t as lucky as he was. And so, looking for a way to give back, a friend’s girlfriend told him about the Downtown Boxing Gym and encouraged him to get in touch. Eight months later, he’s a regular volunteer.

“I love it. I love it,” Peyerk says. “I’m there every Thursday. I’ve had to travel for work a couple times and while I was away I was thinking about the gym, thinking about homework. I like how personal we get to be. How there’s a real impact that you get to make.”

Today, Peyerk, who majored in business and philosophy at Central Michigan University, lives in downtown Detroit. He works as a sales engineer for Cognex, an automation company that does machine vision systems for assembly robots and other machinery. At the gym, he helps mostly in the classroom, helping kids in grades three through six with their homework. Occasionally they go outside and play football. It’s his first time volunteering regularly, outside of a few times helping out at a food pantry while in college in Mt. Pleasant.

“It’s part of my Thursday,” Peyerk says. “Every Thursday I wake up and know that I’ll be at the gym for part of the afternoon. I schedule my meetings around it so I can get there on time. I look forward to it every week.”

The Downtown Boxing Gym is grateful to have such dedicated volunteers. Check out our volunteering page for more information.