As the story has it, one day I headed to the opposite side of the globe – the Flipside. I arrived in Korea February 16th, 2005 and thought I’d do a year, then leave. I was wrong. I stayed, launched my first company, Flipside Fitness, and then opened Korea's largest boxing club, Hulk's Boxing (now called Hulk's Club).

After 11.5yrs in Korea, I then picked up one day and returned to Toronto, Canada. But then I left again.

Now I live in the Philippines where I am the CEO and head coach of Empowered Clubhouse, the Philippines' first and only boxing clubhouse exclusively just for women. I also am the founder of the Lil' Sistas Project, CEO and designer of Slay Gear and Baa Baa Black Sheep .Ph.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Hope for the Center... Saturday, September 21

When the Center of Hope's van pulled up to my house, I noticed it was full of girls.  I assumed it was some of my Lil' Sistas but, upon opening the van door, I realized I've never actually met these girls before. 

These were "new girls" -- newly rescued girls being relocated to the Center of Hope.  

There was an instant awkwardness between us because we didn't know who each other were or why each other was now in the same van.  I was introduced to them by one of the social workers from the Center of Hope who was also in the van.  The new girls than introduced themselves to me one by one.  They didn't speak much English but we chit chatted about this and that... my hair, my dogs, where I was from.  I showed them pictures on my cellphone and they looked on with curiosity.  

Most of the ride, however, I ended up getting into a big discussion with the social worker, Jess, about my plans for the Lil' Sistas and how I wanted to incorporate them into my clubhouse.  I've already emailed and made known my plans with the other ladies at the Center of Hope but here's to hoping letting my ideas hit the ears of another person helps get the ball rolling a bit faster.

When we arrived at the Center of Hope, these new girls instantly sat up straight in their seat, as if they were in a classroom waiting for the teacher to call their name.  They eagerly bobbed their head this way and that way, trying to get sight of where it is we were arriving.  I stepped out of the van first and watched as the new girls followed behind.  When I looked up at the second window, where all the Lil' Sistas were waiting, I felt a huge sense of pride as I watched them eagerly wave and mouth my name, "Coach Amy".  The new girls watched as all the girls waved too and I felt like it was such a beautiful greeting for these girls to have, to see all the other girls looking so happy and full of energy. 

I don't know the stories of these new girls and they didn't participate in my boxing but instead went to do admin stuff with the workers, but I feel relieved to know that they're in good hands here.  I've really come to respect and admire not only the hard work of the ladies here but also the energy of the girls here as well.  This safe house was built for human trafficking victims, it's making strong survivors out of them, but it really takes a community of strong workers to even make this place possible.  I don't know how the ladies working here do it, I really don't.  I always love coming here and am on a "happy high" when I leave, but upon reaching my house, when I close my door and am home alone, that's when I'm instantly bombarded with the reality of these girls and the world they left, the challenges that they now face, and how their lives will never be the same.  

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