DULUTH - Al Sands is well–known around Duluth for his knockout punch
in the ring, but he's quickly becoming known in the community for his big heart.
"Growing up I really didn't know there was a lot of
this type of thing for kids that was going on around us. So, it's really good
that I can take what I’ve done and just turn it into something that the kids
can look forward to," said Al Sands, a pro boxer.
Sands has been spending time at various youth centers like
Woodland Hills, Northwood Children’s Services, and Life House, teaching kids
life lessons. He can relate, because he went through similar things in his
"At 18 months I was adopted from Haiti. I grew up here
in Duluth, got into a little bit of trouble and middle school and then went to
foster care," he said.
Places like Life House help at–risk youth become healthier
and more positive people, something that's not always been there for them.
Sands said, "There are a lot of people that are kind of
looking down on them just because they don't have some of the strong, core
values that a lot of other kids do."
And the need for role models like Sands is becoming more
important with each passing day.
"I think on any given night we're seeing 75–100, 125
homeless kids with no place to sleep, no place to go. There are not a lot of
emergency beds out there and not a lot of affordable housing in the area,"
said Kyle Naalsund, Life House’s housing case manager.
Sands hopes each visit builds a stronger today for a better
"Keep your head up and don't listen to the naysayers
and always chase your dreams," said Sands.