PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Inside and out, Central Boxing Gym looks like the perfect movie set. 

Colorful murals of boxers are painted on the outside. Inside, posters from various bouts cover the walls.

Men and boys of all ages work out in the ring, on the speed bags and the punching bags, while parents watch and wait.

[READ MORE: Surprise Squad stories]

Alex, head manager of Central Boxing Gym, opens his heart and wallet for all who come to the gym. But some of the children who come have no one and those are the kids who inspire him to do everything he can to help them.

“Just being here on Van Buren, I see a lot of kids, you know, walking around late at night," said Alex. "Breaks my heart because I know where I came from and watching them go through it.

"If I can save them, I will. I invite them in and show them what I got, ‘Would you guys like to do this?’”

“What I do, there’s [sic] kids that can’t afford it, you know, because of their income,” said Alex. “I bring them in. One will show up. Next thing you know, another will show up and they’re by themselves. They don’t have anyone to talk to, their problems with what’s going on at home, so they bring it to me.  You know, we all become one happy family.”

“Being in a gym, keeping your mind positive, it helps you in your education, believe it or not,” said Alex. 

“What kind of transformation do you see in some of these kids?” asked Arizona’s Family anchor Heather Moore.

“First thing I do, I tell them I’m really strict about your education,” said Alex.  “So, if you have bad grades, I tell them, ‘Tell you what. If you show me a better report card than this one, I got something for you.’ And I usually give them a pair of gloves, a pair of shoes, a t-shirt, you know, I always give them something in return to show them that, hey, there is good out there.”

“You pay for that yourself?” asked Moore.

“It comes out of my pocket,” said Alex.

“I’m not just with 3TV, working on a story,” said Moore. “I’m also part of Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad.”

“Oh, my God!” said Alex.

“And we are here, for real, with a special surprise for you today,” said Moore.  “Want to go check it out?”

“Sure,” said Alex.

Moore then guided Alex and his young boxers outside to Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad Toyota Highlander. She raised the trunk door to reveal a large gift box.

“This is your surprise!” said Moore.

“Wow!” said Alex, while the boys took the box out and placed it on the ground in front of him.

“Alright, Al, will you open this giant surprise?” said Moore. “Courtesy of Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad and your Valley Toyota Dealers.”

Alex removed the lid from the box to reveal twelve pairs of Title boxing gloves.

“Wow! Awesome!” said Alex. “Thank you, Jesus! I was just going to order some of these for the kids. Thank you, guys, so much!”

Alex hugged Moore.

“Do you think you guys could put those to good use?” asked Moore.

“Yes, we sure can,” said Alex.

“That’s not all,” said Moore, handing Alex a gift bag. “There's more!”

“Oh, my God!” said Alex, pulling a mouth guard out of the bag. “Yes! Guys, we got more mouth pieces.”

“You’ve got 50 mouth guards right there,” said Moore.

“Thank you so much!” said Alex. “We can use them.”

“And, Al, that’s not all,” said Moore laughing.

“Oh, my God,” laughed Alex.

“The surprise continues,” said Moore. “What’s at the bottom of that bag?  Let’s check it out.”

Alex removed a box and opened it.

“A thousand dollars!” said Alex.  “Yeah!”

“What does it say?” said Moore.

“A thousand dollars,” said Alex.  “We need more punching bags, more speed bags. Thank you!”

“And shoes, maybe?” said Moore. “Maybe you need some more shoes?”

“Well, yeah, I need some boxing shoes for these guys,” said Alex. “You got that right.”

“And for your incredible heart for these kids and the generous way you have taken care of this community, on the other side of that, we want you to check that out as well,” said Moore.

“Oh! A thousand dollars for me!” said Alex. “Thank you, guys! That’s going to go to the gym, too!”

Everyone laughed, and the boys applauded.

“For these kids!” said Alex. “Wow, thanks so much!”

“You deserve it,” said Moore. “Thank you, for all you do for the kids.”

“He did everything that he could to help me,” said 11-year-old Brandevin.

“God blesses me with everything I got, and he has through my whole life,” said Alex. “And I want these kids to know that hey, it can happen to them, like it happened to me.”

“It’s good that you guys are coming out here and showing everyone that how - what he does for us and all the kids out here,” said 17-year-old Giovanni.

“Surprise Squad!” cheered all the boys as they surrounded Alex.

Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad is sponsored by your Valley Toyota Dealers.


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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