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Fighting for Their Dreams

Founded in 2015 as a not-for-profit youth development program, Norwayne Boxing Gym exists so every Detroit Metro Area at-risk kid who walks into the gym can leave physically and mentally fit, of strong character, and with a dream for the future. They do that through daily programs that teach kids to 1) work hard and push their limits, 2) study and gain technical skills, 3) give their time and make a difference, and 4) be a role model for others. Company sponsorships, donor fundraising, grants and other charitable gifts fund the operations. At Norwayne Boxing Gym kids get on the path to leading championship lives.

Norwayne Boxing Gym Before Heasley & Partners
Before, the appeal was all mind-based. Facts and no heart.

All that sounds great, right? Well it didn't always sound that clear. Norwayne Boxing Gym asked Heasley & Partners to help with their brand so that people who might want to support this important cause would understand all it does for at-risk kids in the Detroit Metro Area. They got that, along with a lot of heart... the emotional connection that has driven increased participation and thankfully, donors.

Norwayne Boxing Gym before Heasley & Partners
There were photos, but they didn't capture emotion.

The Problem

In 2016, the Detroit Free Press spent an entire year listening to children share what it’s like to live in and around the city. They looked at 33,000 criminal cases (January 2009 to September 2015) involving children up to age 17. They put it all into a report titled: Our Children: Searching for Solutions and the statistics within it paint a picture of fear, danger, and uncertainty. If you think back to your own childhood, imagine living with those feelings day in and day out. It’s hard to imagine. And impossible to think how these kids can function. Forget having a shot at a normal life. Something must be done. Actually, many things must be done.


- Nearly 14 children per day are victims of crime in Detroit.

- The average age of the victim is 13 and most common crime is assault.

- Roughly 2 of 5 children, 43%, were victims of violent crimes such as homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault and robbery.

Programs like Norwayne Boxing Gym take kids off the street and give them a chance at a better life. It was up to Heasley & Partners to improve the communications of the gym and make them ready for prime-time fund raising.

The Solution

After a site visit to the gym and seeing success stories in action, happening right before our eyes. We couldn't say no to helping the gym out pro bono. As part of those services, we created new messaging in the form of a brand platform and pitch deck, new imagery including photo/video, and a new website that become the center of it all.

What was once difficult to understand became clear. It started by creating the Brand



Norwayne Boxing Gym prepares kids from the street to win the fight for their dreams. In the boxing ring known as the real world. All kids dream about what they want to do when they grow up. Let’s let them dream, and then help them achieve those dreams.

We captured the heart in the photos.

Norwayne Boxing Gym takes at-risk kids and transforms them into winning athletes, but first and foremost shapes them into winning people. People who may never throw a punch or face a contender, but who have learned the discipline, the drive, the confidence and the work ethic it takes to win in life. The same qualities it takes to win in the ring.

The Four Corners of Achievement™ lead the way. They are:

[ Athletics - work hard and push your limits.

[ Academics - study and gain technical skills.

[ Community - give your time and make a difference.

[ Leadership - be a role model for others.

We then created brand assets they can own and that set them apart in a Genuine, Meaningful and Different way:

The Champion's Code

Other boxing programs may do a good job at helping kids stay active and may even help kids stay out of trouble. But only one boxing gym can claim it builds champions in the ring and in life. Yes. Some of our kids are championship boxers—the only gym in the state that can claim that—but all of our kids are on the path toward leading a championship life. That’s because Norwayne Boxing Gym puts building character at the top of our success ladder.

Every day we fight to help kids live The Champion’s Code

[ Make good decisions

[ Own up to mistakes

[ Practice tolerance

[ Develop social skills

[ Obey laws

[ Abstain from drugs and alcohol

[ Delay sexual activity

[ Maintain a healthy body

[ Be a role model for others

[ Act with respect

[ And maintain a vivid vision of the future

Success Stories

We gave the true life stories more heart so people can feel the Norwayne experience.

We also branded more assets they could own, like their weekly programs

KOde It™

Norwayne Boxing Gym teaches kids a marketable skill so no matter their dream, they will have a means in our modern world to make money and thrive. Our KOde It sessions provide hands-on instruction and learning in computer programming.

Kick It with Coach Wade™

This is where we keep it on the 100. As Coach says, “You have to trust somebody, it may as well be me.” Issues get tackled, truth leads and lives are changed. Happens every Friday.

Coach Wade Words™

When you’re in the fight FOR your life, you need people who believe in you, That’s Coach Wade. He is an inspiration. Listen closely and you’ll hear his words of wisdom and heart:

[ “You try to make a difference. You got to.”

[ “I know you’re going through something. I’m your man. I gotcha’. We’re together.”

[ “These kids just need some love, some caring. Teach them something.”

[ “You don’t have to come to me when you’re in trouble. Come to me before.

[ Let’s make habits so bad things don’t happen.”

[ “These kids are special to me. I don’t care if you can throw a punch or you can’t.”

Click here to see how it all came together online. The results have been stellar with more big-name sponsors seeing the value of this program and more dollars coming in to support it. Now the gym is partnering with the University of Michigan, The Ford Foundation, BlueCross of Michigan, and many others to help fund vital programs that are 100% free for the kids.

And the kids? Grade point averages have improved, they are learning life skills, they are staying out of trouble and the Norwayne Boxing Gym competitive team is the winningest in Michigan. Several boxers are Golden Glove Champions, and one was invited recently to train with the U.S. Olympic Team.

Better communication, communication with heart, delivers an emotional connection. When you've got that, you've got The Heart Effect and that's what drives results: great people, more buzz and much needed funding. Works every time!


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