The Crushers Club: Chicagoan Sally Hazelgrove’s Mission

Sally Hazelgrove at Crushers ClubMy new hero is Sally Hazelgrove.
This petite determined woman founded “Crushers Club” in one of the most terrifying neighborhoods in the country – Englewood in Chicago. Gang banging and shootings abound; opportunities to escape that lifestyle don’t.

Hazelgrove grew up in Naperville.  She started reading and thinking about the teens being shot in Englewood long ago. Soon she was volunteering and later working in the juvenile protection system there.Sally Hazelgrove and Me

Five years ago she moved her family of three kids – now ages 10, 11 and 16 – to Englewood and started asking the young males loitering on street corners what activity would motivate them to try harder in school and help them see a future beyond Englewood.  Their answer – boxing.  They promised to change bad attitudes and get better grades in exchange for leaving school 20 minutes early to learn to box.

Hazelgrove single handedly obtained a grant for funding and a 12,000 square foot space in a local church to launch “Crushers Club.” Its’ mission is to be the strongest alternative to gangs. and it uses  four ideals—respect, discipline, ownership, and love—to give its members a fighting chance.

The program quickly grew to include activities beyond boxing – including a cobbled together recording studio, because Hazelgrove told a talented musician that “I’ll build a recording studio if you give up your gun and gang banging.” Spaces also exist for homework help, “quiet talk” (similar to one of one counseling), dancing, poetry, art and more.

The model works and others are noticing, including recent coverage on Crusher’s Club reveals the tremendous details. Sally was also honored at the Women in the World Summit this year in New York City. This compelling video at The Acres shows the determination, as well. Please watch it.
Crusher's Club Chicago
A vivid reminder of the perils in the neighborhood greets Crushers Club visitors – this sign which keeps track of the shootings each month:

Hazelgrove’s goal: Train kids 8 – 18 to be the leaders who transform the lives of the younger kids in the community.Crusher Club cost per person: $3500 per person

Taxpayer Cost per person for incarceration: $27,500+ per year

The data is compelling. This model needs to grow.

I met a wonderful young man who is an example of Crushers Club’s good work – Tyvon Jones.

Crusher's Club Sally Hazelgrove and participant TyvonJones is shy, sensitive, musical and shell shocked.  Friends who lived on both sides of his home have been murdered.  He composes music to try to help heal himself and others from all of this violence.  He desperately wants a “good job” away from Englewood.  He thinks he just landed one as a server at a banquet hall in Chicago, but he needs the right attire – shoes, belt and clean, white shirt.

And please do all you can to spread the good news about Crushers Club and help my new hero Sally Hazelgrove.
Thank you.
Our mission is to restore the path of youth engaging in negative behavior due to gang affiliation and activity by providing boxing, mentoring, spiritual development, intern opportunities and love.
 Video on Acres; and Englewood video

2 thoughts on “The Crushers Club: Chicagoan Sally Hazelgrove’s Mission

  1. Pingback: How A Chicago Woman Is Helping Keep Chicago’s Southside Kids Safe Through Boxing | Weigh-In Boxing

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