11/18/2020, noon
The Bloc is one of four Chicagoland area organizations which is the recipient of the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant ...
The Bloc is a non-profit organization that uses the sport of boxing to provide academic support, mentoring and other resources to young people on the West Side of Chicago. Photo courtesy of The Bloc/Jamyle Cannon
 Local organizations win grant money from State Farm

     The Bloc is one of four Chicagoland area organizations which is the recipient of the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant program. The organization will receive $25,000 to go towards furthering its missions.
     “State Farm is proud to support the good neighbors who will be implementing the winning projects in their communities,” Annette Martinez, senior vice president at State Farm, said in a release. “We look forward to seeing the impact of these grants.”
     The Bloc is an organization, located on the West Side, that uses boxing to reach children. It also provides academic support and mentoring. The organization has been around since 2016.
Jamyle Cannon, executive director of The Bloc, said its biggest philosophy is an ounce of prevention is worth a dose of a cure.
     “There are so many kids walking around the West side of Chicago that have been rejected from outlets that they’ve wanted to take part in, don’t have a place where they feel like they belong, too many of those young people are going to find themselves in the streets and leading destructive life paths,” he said. “We know that we can interrupt that process and we can get them into something that not only gets them off the streets, but gets them into productive outlets and gets them excited about their future and makes them invest in themselves.”
     Cannon said once the young people come into the organization, they are provided with academic support and resources. Currently, The Bloc is hosting a virtual learning lab where kids are coming in for the entirety of their school day, completing their school day and doing boxing training afterwards.
     “We do all this so that we can help them maximize their potential in life. Every kid who comes through our program, 100 percent of our kids have graduated from high school and been accepted into college,” he said. “We’re finding the sport has become a passion project for so many of them and an anchor in their lives that helps them to improve.”
     The Bloc won the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant for the first time in 2018. Cannon added the grant money will be used to provide wraparound services for the young people the organization serves. He said the money from the grant will allow the organization to reach 10 more kids throughout the course of the year.
     “We’re bringing in ten kids in a community where we have high schools with graduation rates as low as 30 percent. With $25,000, we’ll be able to not only bring them in with the sport of boxing, but make sure we see them through high school graduation and getting ten kids to graduate high school who might have dropped out before, is a more than [a] $2 million impact over the course of their lifetime in taxpayer savings,” he said. “By expanding our capacity, we have an even greater community impact because of that. This will be paying for boxing training fees, boxing equipment … kids are getting meals.”