The Fighting Spirit / The Cairns Sun

Breaking the cycle of violence and suicide in Cairns is The Streets Movement’s mission. More than 2,000 youths have been through their program, set up just over two years ago at Bentley Park.

Boxing, mixed martial arts and maya thai are taught to develop self-confidence and self-discipline and give young people a positive focus to help them break from destructive patterns of behaviour.

Founding members Jesse Martin and Lucas Carmody are “fighting today for a better tomorrow” through The Streets Movement.

“We had a similar upbringing, where we got into lots of trouble,” Jesse said. “We had to make do and sometimes did not have the money to eat for a day.”

He said years ago there was a Gordonvale man who used to run boxing training a couple of times a week for young people.

“But he got a job in Mount Isa and the boxing was shut down.”

“A few of us who had been going to his training went off the rails a bit with alcohol and drugs.”

Jesse said it took a while to work out why all of a sudden “everything went to hell” but he eventually realised it was all about having a focus with the boxing.

“My father, who is a very smart man and very community minded, would ask me ‘what have you done for the world?’ and something resonated and I thought ‘he’s right’”.

“I decided then to get out and do something to ‘pay it forward’ – which resulted in The Streets Movement.”

Although boxing is the main program, The Streets Movement is also about community development.

In fact, the group is now trying to raise funds to build a dance studio for R&B and hip hop classes run by Shivani Hanlan of 365 Dance Group. Pilates, yoga and other programs are also in the pipeline.

As a youth worker, Lucas said he wanted to address the broader issues facing the community in the north, which has one of the highest rates of violence in the state and a high suicide rate.

 Printed 28 March 2013 – The Cairns Sun – By Gail Sedrokin