CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A Clearfield County teenager has turned her passion for boxing into a career.
Aviana Gillaugh started boxing at age nine at a birthday party and she immediately fell in love with the sport and started training. Just five years after she first walked into a boxing gym, she decided to make it her office, so she could help others regain their confidence, just like she did.
“When I started boxing it helped me gain a lot of confidence because there were a lot of people telling me I could do it and that got me very excited,” said Avianna Gillaugh, the founder of the non-profit organization Turnabout Boxing.
A feeling that Aviana quickly knew she wanted everyone to have. So at only 14 years old, she founded Turnabout Boxing with the support of her parents.
“I like to see people succeed and improve in what they want to do. When [my parents] said we could open a gym, and they helped me open it, it made me very happy when we started getting more people [and] it made me want to help them,” Gillaugh said.
In just one year, Turnabout had 13 boxers, before the Gillaughs teamed up with another non-profit gym, the WPAL DuBois, with whom they now share gym space. Aviana’s father and trainer, Gregg Gillaugh, said Turnabout and WPAL’s vision was aligned and it was the right move for them. Now they are looking to expand Turnabout’s reach by setting up special programs for people with diabetes as well as a program for Parkinson’s disease.
“Structured and designed in a group setting. So it creates support structure, social interaction, and things that go beyond the usual mental physical benefits of exercise for people with Parkinson’s. Now you have a social interaction support group,” Gregg Gillaugh said.
Gregg Gillaugh hopes to be able to launch the Parkinson’s boxing program within the next six months.
For most 14-year-olds, all of the responsibilities Aviana takes on could be overwhelming. But for her, balancing training, coaching and being a teenage entrepreneur is part of her dream.
“Most 14-year-olds my age, [they] would never think of doing that. So when I think about doing that and helping others, it makes me really happy and really proud of myself to see the person I’ve become today,” said Aviana Gillaugh.
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In addition to her coaching and nonprofit organization, Avianna is also gearing up to fight for a Western Pennsylvania championship next weekend, March 19, at the Golden Gloves, which WPAL DuBois hosts at DuBois Country Club. Tickets for the event can be purchased by by clicking on this link.