CHICAGO (WGN/CNN) - A program in Chicago is encouraging kids to put down the guns and pick up the boxing gloves.
Dozens of kids living in the city's North Lawndale neighborhood are part of the Boxing Out Negativity" program.
The neighborhood is no stranger to drugs, guns and gang violence.
The program's founder, Derek Brown Sr., saw boxing as a way to keep those negative influences away.
Youngsters, including his son, are embracing it.
"It helped me exercise," Derek Brown said, "get right, he make me become a better person."
Derek Brown Sr. said most children in the area love to fight and are aggressive.
"So what I'm doing, I'm taking that aggressive behavior and turning it into positive energy," he said. "And instead of it being outside the streets, we take it out to the ring. It's Boxing Out Negativity. It's a way of life."
The effort comes amid what Chicago police call "strategic anti-violence raids" that took place last week.
The raids targeted gang and gun offenders in several west and south side neighborhoods.
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