OMNI Youth Services Wins National Award for Being a Healthy Place to Work! Last October, the Illinois Psychological Association (IPA) named OMNI as the recipient of the 2006 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award (PHWA) for the state of Illinois. The PHWA is designed to recognize organizations that make a commitment to programs and policies fostering employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance and productivity.
Originally printed in the Chicago Sun Times
Even though coach Rico Gonzalez admitted that he was unsure how his New Heights Boxing Program would fair, his deep faith in boxing’s ability to positively influence kids’ lives never wavered. That’s why he turned the two-car garage behind his Wheeling home into a boxing gym five years ago. Gonzalez, himself, is living proof that the discipline and work ethic needed to succeed in the boxing ring provides a distinct alternative to the destructive influences of street life. And he said the boxers that need this discipline the most — the ones who are battling drug and gang influences — deserve this opportunity.
It’s been five years since Rico Gonzalez turned the two-car garage behind his Wheeling home into a boxing gym. From day one, Gonzalez has stressed education and demanded discipline. Boxing was just his tool. Overcoming street influence was always more important than outlasting an opponent. Now that small garage, home of thriving competitors in every weight class, is not big enough. With the help of the Wheeling and Prospect Heights police departments and Omni Youth Services, Gonzalez started the New Heights Boxing Program in February.