Despite the challenges created by the global pandemic, the Canadian Chapter of the World Boxing Council (WBC) Cares organization, co-chaired by Shana Otter and Michelle Ponich, continues to work tirelessly on projects in communities across the nation. Founded in 2006, WBC Cares is now established in 166 nations around the globe, collaborating with local groups to support initiatives focused on anti-bullying, STD awareness, domestic violence, drug awareness, and more. Recently, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman enthusiastically welcomed Otter and Ponich in an online video. “I would like to welcome the Canada Chapter. Welcome to the WBC Cares family, thank you for your dedication…Let’s go, make us proud!” Otter and Ponich have taken Sulaiman’s words to heart and hit the ground running over the last twelve months.
In February, WBC Cares and Three Lions Promotions (TLP) raised over $5,000 for the Thunder Boxing Club in Sydney, Nova Scotia. “It’s so important to build community programs for our youth and support those who are vulnerable and at risk,” explained Otter from the ring that night. Over the holiday season, WBC Cares partnered with TLP and Steeltown Boxing Club to conduct a large toy drive for City Kidz, a charity dedicated to helping break the cycle of poverty. With long term care (LTC) facilities facing some of the most difficult scenarios of this pandemic, WBC Cares also initiated the “Letters of Love” campaign, distributing the messages of 750 children, from grades one through three, to senior living in local LTC homes over the holiday season.
“Boxing has pulled many people out of some very tough situations,” said Otter. “Team sports just aren’t realistic for many families. The time and money required for a sport like hockey is too much. Boxing offers many of the same benefits but is far more accessible. That’s why we decided to help a boxing club in February. Not just because the WBC is a boxing organization, but because we see boxing as a sport of the people. A sport with far fewer barriers to entry for the average family than say hockey or soccer. The money we donated can go further and help more kids.”
The pandemic has created new challenges, but Otter and Ponich remain undeterred. “We’ve had to get creative, but our efforts have continued into the pandemic, with a focus on online initiatives,” said Otter. “We’re always eager to hear from potential collaborators. It’s vital that we work together to keep helping those in need. The pandemic has hit people hard. There’s a lot of uncertainty. We’re doing everything we can to help.”
WBC Cares is chaired by Jill Diamond. For more information, you can visit: https://wbcboxing.com/en/wbc-cares/ or visit the Canadian Chapter on Facebook: @wbccarescanada