About

Jason Mata is Program Director of The Advocates -Boxing Youth Program.  He has been involved with the organizations since 1996 and is also President of the Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association. Jason Mata is also a Certified USA Boxing level II coach and is on the Board of Directors for the Haven For Hope.

 

There Is A Serious Need for Character Building Youth Programs!

As you know, our society’s youth will have a tremendous impact on our city’s future. Whether because of lack of education and guidance, bad influences, marginalization, or feeling disenfranchised, our youth is underachieving and becoming more and more vulnerable.

Other issues At-Risk youth face are Exploitation, Exploitation by family members, Exploitation by strangers and Exploitation that could potentially lead to human trafficking and child slavery, sexual, physical, or mental abuse, Bullying, poverty, substance abuse, childhood Obesity, malnutrition, homelessness, gang violence, low self esteem, teenage pregnancy, Mental Illness, and among everything else, lack of Faith.

According to Census statistics and other related research, there are close to 400,000 youth in San Antonio under the age of 19 years old. In the West-side of San Antonio, there are areas where the the teenage Pregnancy Rate is four(4) times higher than the national rate. The Childhood Obesity problem is just as severe with over 30% of San Antonio children between the ages of 8-10 years old struggle with Obesity. Both Juvenile Crime and the school drop out rate remain consistently high. And over 17% of San Antonio residents live in Poverty. A more recent study out of Austin Texas reported that nearly 60% of all public junior high and high school students have had to be disciplined at one point or another while in school. And in some case some students had to be disciplined over 10 times.

As one of the directors of The Advocates–Boxing Youth Program, I have personally witnessed the benefits of a structured youth development program that takes a holistic approach that targets the basis from where most of these issues derive: the Household. We work with a wide-ranging social service network that is based on meeting specific basic family needs. We aim to create a “worry free” environment with the ultimate goal of giving program participants a better chance of “reaching their full potential” at home, school, amongst their peers, and in life. It is a concept that was first created by my father Charlie Mata in the late 1950′s when he was a youth social worker and amateur boxer for a local church.

Our boxing program works with youth from the ages 8-22 years old. We have been in contact with close to 700 documented participants. We offer contact and non-contact training, giving everyone a chance to participate. It is absolutely a goal of ours to provide a Safety Net for at-risk youth. Many kids have lost weight and about 85% percent of all past participants have either graduated school high school, attended college, or are employed. Boxing is very demanding sport requiring discipline, sacrifice, and perseverance. We use Boxing as tool to help kids all year round and as an alternative to seasonal sports.

The situation surrounding our youth has become mundane. There is an urgent need for creativity and innovation. No one organization or program can successfully tackle these issues alone.  Local Municipal, City, County, and Federal governments officials need to continue to Prioritize youth development initiatives making it public policy and work with organizations who are going to put forth a sincere good faith effort.

To turn a blind eye to this problem, would not only be fiscally irresponsible but could be viewed by some as Inhumane. No one is to blame, but we must all act and be willing to take an aggressive and necessary approach. Becoming involved through volunteering or investing with contributions to local Youth Programs is a good start.

We are always willing to partner with local governments and other non-profit entities. If you are interested in our program, please call (210) 212-7700. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jason Mata