In its run-down warehouse where sunlight can't pierce the grimy windows, an Alhambra boxing club has become a place where youths who are struggling to stay out of trouble learn not only about jabbing but also about self-esteem and hope.
Now, the nonprofit club, which also sponsors a 10-week Toastmasters public speaking program for youths, is fighting to survive.
"I don't know where next month's rent will come from," said Antonia Tellez, 47. She and her husband, Rudy, a 47-year-old former boxing manager, opened the club in July, 1991, with $3,000 of their own money and donations.
It offers boxing instruction and a safe place to go for youths who might otherwise end up in gangs.
Funds began to dry up in December when the city stopped paying the $1,100 monthly rent on the club's South Palm Avenue warehouse.
The city had agreed to provide the first year's rent at the site, the club's third home in three years. A $2,500 grant from Pacific Bell was exhausted last month, leaving the club with $500 a month from the county probation service to pay the rent and bills.
Although city officials praise their efforts, the Tellezes say they have been offered nothing more than a loan this year. City officials say they have already paid $11,000 in rent and cannot favor the club over other community programs.