The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Lifestyles

July 19, 2013

Clinton family aims to open athletic facility

CLINTON — As Jorge Landa Rodriguez absorbs jab after jab from his daughter, Ashley, while they train beside the riverfront, he’s thinking about more than helping the 15-year-old achieve her Olympic boxing dreams.

He’s thinking about all the children in Clinton without a means to reach their goals.   

Jorge aims to open a gym that will help no- to low-income kids foster their athletic dreams. He started a non-profit called Against the Ropes and is half way to opening the doors of a Clinton facility.   

“I wanted to see if I could build something that would make a difference in these kids’ lives. Right now there are so many kids out and about that don’t know what to do,” the 36-year-old Clinton resident said. “The structure, the discipline helps them in their lives. It teaches them responsibility. I want to be the one to make a difference in their lives.”

So far he’s raised about $10,000 and has another $10,000 to go before the gym dream can become a reality.  

Gym membership will be tiered based on income level. While adult members would have 24-hour access to the facility, there would be set hours for children to train.

“If they want to do something else other than just train it doesn’t matter to me what sport they want to do as long as they want to do something that’s going to better their lives. If the funds are there, that’s what they’re there for,” Jorge said.

While the athletic center will be open to training for any kind of athletic event, Jorge is focused on boxing in particular. It’s a sport with deep roots in his family tradition.

“The earliest memory I have of my father, or one of my biggest memories, is watching the fights. He worked a lot, but when the fight was on, that was family time,” he said.

Jorge, his seven children and his wife decided to take up a contact sport together to give them time as a family.  

After joining a gym and getting to know the other children training, Jorge noticed increased absences at the beginning of the month.

“The truth of the matter was that their parents couldn’t afford to pay for them to go. The money just wasn’t in the books. It was a really sad feeling that the kids couldn’t do what they wanted to do because of something as simple as money,” Jorge said.

Jorge won the American Family Insurance Dream Camp contest to foster his dream, but he gives credit for the win to Ashley.  

The Clinton High sophomore is fighting for her dream to be an Olympic boxer. That fight includes a rigorous 14 hours of training a week at least. She’s been training for nearly two years and is slated to compete in international events.

“I love it. We were watching the Olympics and I said ‘Dad, I want to be there some day.’” she said.

As a result of winning the American Family Insurance contest, Jorge and Ashley traveled to Madison, Wis., to meet boxing coach Al Mitchell and Olympic boxing hopeful Mikaela Mayer. The visit inspired them, fueling their shared passion to open the gym and help other aspiring athletes.

“I want to pay it forward. When I learn something I want to teach other kids,” Ashley said.  

They returned to Clinton with a renewed sense to help kids and families that feel they don’t have a place to turn.  

“That’s exactly why we chose the name ‘Against the Ropes,’ because some of these kids feel like they’re backed into a corner and they don’t know how to get out. I don’t ever want anybody feeling like they’re against the ropes. We’re here to help,” he said.  

Against the Ropes can be found on Facebook and donations can be made by visiting fundrazr.com and searching “Against the Ropes.” Jorge also plans to host fundraisers and sell merchandise to maintain the gym.

 

1
Text Only
Lifestyles
  • Fire departments undergo grain bin rescue training OMAHA — The Goose Lake and Lost Nation Volunteer Fire Departments each have received lifesaving grain bin rescue equipment through a donation from Farm Credit Services of America.Goose Lake received its equipment July 14 and Lost Nation on July 15. E

    July 24, 2014

  • The Clinton Herald Jim Miller Low-cost, free cellphone options for seniors DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling SeniorDEAR SELDOM: For financially challenged seniors who only want a cell pho

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADM donates $75K for fire boat purchase CLINTON — Archer Daniels Midland Company has donated $75,000 to the city of Clinton for a new fire and rescue boat for the Clinton Fire Department.The boat will help the fire department respond to fires, administer emergency medical services and resp

    July 24, 2014

  • Students get first-hand look at non-profits CLINTON — An upcoming event will showcase Clinton area’s non-profits to incoming Ashford University students.The second Fresh START (Serving to Achieve Results Together) event will be held Saturday, Aug. 16. Students and staff members will serve at v

    July 23, 2014

  • Friend of the Fair Two honored as 'Friends' MORRISON, Ill. — The Whiteside County Fair recently announced its 2014 Friend of the Fair. Paul Vock and Dan Heusinkveld are this year’s honorees. The two men have been involved with the fair for decades.Vock started with the fair in 1971 as the Heav

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bice Nurses earn Daisy awards

    CLINTON — Two Clinton nurses recently earned Daisy awards.Mercy Medical Center nurses Jodie Atkinson and Kristen Bice earned the awards that is rewarded to extraordinary nurses. Atkinson began her career in nursing at Mercy Medical Center in 1995 on

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Revolver goes for $400 at auction CLINTON — Selling in two locations on June 21 proved to be a winner. I was selling in the first location with my son Jon and we had a strong bidding crowd. The second location had Jeff Lohr and Bill McWilliams holding firm with a nice crowd of bidder

    July 19, 2014

  • Sawmill New event cruises into Clinton CLINTON — Three Gateway-area locations are joining together in August for a river heritage event.The event will be held Aug. 3 and will feature a Blue Heron river cruise, a Sawmill Museum tour and a de Immigrant Windmill tour in Fulton, Illinois. The

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Minnick Ashford director appointed to commission CLINTON —The Ashford University campus director has been appointed to a volunteer commission.Charlie Minnick, vice president/campus director of Ashford University, has been appointed by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Ser

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Summer lunch menus (July 21 to 25)

    Summer lunch menus at Jefferson and Bluff Elementary Schools, and Generations Area Agency on Aging

    July 17, 2014

Front page
Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Poll

Should the city of Clinton appeal the open records violation ruling that will cost taxpayers $40,600?

Yes
No
     View Results
AP Video
Olympics 2014
Featured Comment
Featured Ads
Blue Zones Project
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.