HURRICANE'S IN THE HOUSE!
Boxer McNeeley speaks to kids in Tallahassee juvenile detention center
Heavyweight boxer Peter McNeeley appeared as the featured speaker in a recent assembly at the Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Tallahassee, Florida. The secure full-lockdown facility services youthful offenders ages 13-18. Originally built for up to 54 occupants, it currently houses 78 inmates.
Drug and alcohol use contributes significantly to the problems facing many juveniles in the system. McNeeley spoke candidly about his own battles with substance abuse and dealing with life's obstacles and setbacks. Gradually he won over the tough and initially wary young audience. He encouraged them to avoid the pitfalls of drug use and to take responsibility for their own actions. "Whether I win, lose, or draw in the ring today," McNeeley said, "as long as I stay clean and give it my best shot - I'm a winner. And you can be, too."
After the presentation, McNeeley was swarmed by members of the enthusiastic audience anxious to meet him personally. The New England pugilist was clearly moved by the warm reception and was more than happy to oblige, taking time to shake hands, autograph photos, and talk to the kids on an individual basis.
Superintendent Bonnie Medlin was very appreciative of McNeeley's visit. "Many of the children here don't have much to look forward to. A positive message from somebody like Peter can really make a difference."
"These kids are great. I'm so happy I was able to be here today," McNeeley said. "This will definitely be the highlight of my trip to Florida."
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