Community spotlight: Indigenous Youth boxing ‘Team 700’ fights on

The community rallied to keep Team 700 together. Now, founder Ivy Richardson invites sponsors to help build a stable future.

Team 700, a competitive Indigenous Youth boxing team created by Ivy Richardson, who is of Nuxalk, G̱usgimukw and European descent, and the Nanaimo Youth Advisory Council have been able to remain connected and running even after funding from Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre was cut last year. A fundraiser started by Ivy received overwhelming support, and community members have continued to show up in various ways. 

The benefits of Team 700 have been highlighted by participants and their loved ones. The organization works to combat the effects of “historic and ongoing removal of Indigenous children from their families,” the team shares on Instagram, and is named after the approximately 700 to 1,000 young people who age out of government care each year in British Columbia. Team 700, along with Red Girl Rising, have built a community that centres on movement as ceremony.

Related: Promoting resiliency through physical activity

“We’ve lasted off the initial dollars from that GoFundMe campaign. But we’ve also had a lot of people show up in different capacities,” says Ivy, referring to partnerships such as T-Shirts designed with local artist Get Born Co. “People have continued to show up, knowing what our financial situation is. We’re really grateful for that.”

Members of Team 700 practice boxing drills.
Members of Team 700 practice boxing drills. Photo courtesy of Team 700

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Related: Indigenous youth boxing group ‘Team 700’ fights for support after funding cut

Now Ivy is looking toward future actions that can be taken to assure financial security for the organization.

“Moving forward, I don’t want to be in a position where we’re fundraising all the time,” she says. “So, I’m looking at grants and sponsorships. Just so we have some more security moving forward.”

Along with exploring non-profit and charity status options, Ivy has been working to connect with businesses and organizations that can sponsor the program, developing a sponsorship package to help develop plans and connections that would sustain the program long term. 

“There’s no question that we’re going to stay together, we’re going to do whatever it takes. But it would be great to have that financial support. So, we’re looking to connect with someone who can meet that bottom line need.”

For Ivy, this move to sustained community support connects with the overall goal of Team 700 and its role in supporting youth who access the training provided through the club.

“I want to stress how critical this program has been for our community. How the Youth are really thriving. We have incredible Youth in our community and this has been a really supportive, safe, loving, and accessible program. It’s really important to highlight and support that. Because it only works if we all work. It doesn’t work if it’s just one person, we can’t do this alone. We need community to show up.”

Editor’s Note: We capitalize the ‘Y’ in Youth to honour that they are the Knowledge Keepers of the future. In many teachings across Indigenous lands Youth are looked to for their knowledge, and are also active participants in their governing systems. This honours them for the responsibility they hold.

— Kelsie Kilawna, Cultural Editor for IndigiNews

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