Troy Wohosky has lived in Medford since he was six years old. Growing up, his parents were often away, working to support him and his three older siblings. By the time he was 13, he’d gotten sucked into the violence of gang life, just like two of his siblings. In fact, he helped start a southern Oregon offshoot of a gang called RAW, which stands for “Ready and Willing.”
He says there were several violent incidents that made him rethink his life but what was key was the constant support of one of his coaches at a boxing gym that’s now closed. Since he got out of the violence of gang life, he’s started the Spartan Boxing Gym, which lets him share his story and help other kids in similar situations. Wohosky has 13-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter, and he says he’s proud of the example he’s now setting for them.
The Spartan Boxing program is one of a number of components of the Keep Encouraging Youth (K.E.Y.) program, funded (pdf) through the state of Oregon’s Youth Development Council. Today, we continue our occasional series looking at different responses to gang violence around the state with an exploration of Spartan Boxing in Medford and the larger K.E.Y. program in southern Oregon.
- Troy Wohosky: Founder of the Spartan Boxing Gym in Medford; ex-gang member
- Danny “Mello” Saldivar: Member of Spartan Boxing Gym
- Joe Ferguson: Deputy director of Jackson County Juvenile Services
- Brenda Brooks: Deputy director of Oregon’s Youth Development Council