The Big Shoulders Fund of Chicago has boosted thousands of inner city kids up through the financial ropes and put them toe-to-toe with success in Catholic Schools. You can not get into the ring without some help.
The Big Shoulders Fund was started by a 79th Street guy by the name of James O'Connor. Jim O'Connor was the CEO of ComEd, when it did not hammer citizens with utility bills. Jim O'Connor was the man who built the nuclear power plants that generated cheap, affordable power to Illinois citizens in Chicago and northern suburbs. Jim O'Connor wanted kids from 79th Street, 63rd Street, 55th Street, along Archer Ave., North Ave., Milwaukee Ave., and Irving Park Road to have the opportunity to attend Catholic Schools. Catholic Schools prepared Jim O'Connor to become a successful, caring and giving citizen.
The Big Shoulders Fund works year round to scare up funds, assist schools with budgeting plans, leadership plans and operational efficiency. The Big Shoulders Fund is the cut-man for the Office of Catholic Schools.
Tonight, the Leo Boxing Team will attend a dinner honoring George Foreman and the George Foreman Foundation at Harry Caray's restaurant. Most of our boxers have never been to Harry Caray's. In fact, many of these kids never really see much of Chicago beyond the few square miles that comprise their neighborhoods and Leo High School.
Leo High School is on 79th Street a few blocks east of Jim O'Connor's boyhood home on Marshfield Street. Jim O'Connor knows Leo High School. The Big Shoulders Fund has helped Leo families meet the costs of an education at this school, since the early 1990's. Thanks to that commitment and support, Leo High School makes a difference in the lives of young men. One method of life preparation outside of the classroom is the Boxing Room on the school's second floor. This facility was built with the help from State Representative Mary Flowers, Irish Boxing Trainers Martin and Oliver McGarry, Mexican American Middleweight and contractor JC Gutierrez and attorney, Leo Alumnus, Advisory Board Member, Hall of Fame Inductee and Leo Man of the Year 2011 Mike Joyce.
Since 1999, Mike Joyce has trained Leo High School boxers to fight in the methods developed by Constantine "Cos" D'Amato -the peek-a-boo approach style of boxing, where the hands are placed in front of the boxers face for more protection.
Protect yourself in the ring and in life. Cos D'Amato trained Floyd Paterson,Jose Torres and Mike Tyson. Mike Joyce trained thirteen Golden Gloves champions, the captain of Team USA, Lamar Fenner and Superheavyweight Thomas Hayes. Leo Boxers also became the scholar/athletes any school would envy. Boxer Eder Cruz is Leo's 2011 Gates Millennium Scholar.
A man who came from a tough environment, boxed for America and won the Gold Medal in Mexico at 1968 Olympics, and won two Heavyweight Championships, turned his life over to Christ and helped others develop the life worth living - a life of giving.
George Foreman has the shoulders to match the Big Shoulders Fund and those of Jim O'Connor. Tonight ten Leo Boxers will have the opportunity share their life stories with people who know what life is all about - James O'Connor and George Foreman.