Ben Savva Sir David Martin Foundation Interview
Emerging Australian professional boxer Ben Savva has recently been appointed as the newest brand ambassador for the Sir David Martin Foundation.
Sir David Martin Foundation is an Australian not-for-profit dedicated to helping youth in crisis. They fund effective programs that help young people in crisis regain their health, get off the streets and achieve their goals. The programs funded by Sir David Martin Foundation, support young people with complex issues including substance addiction, homelessness, mental illness, abuse, and unemployment or struggling with family breakdown.
Ben is a man who puts his money where his mouth is by donating his purse to the Sir David Martin Foundation from the recent win against Abbas Makki. The Savva / Makki match was the drawcard event and crowds witnessed an explosive 6-rounder at Dee Why RSL Club on Saturday 5 March.
'I am grateful to be able to work with the Sir David Martin Foundation and support a cause that is very close to my heart. Sharing my match winnings and working alongside the Foundation to highlight the benefits of fitness to improving the lives of young people is something that motivates me to achieve my goals and work towards making a real difference in the lives of these young people," said Ben Savva.
Ben is also an advanced boxing and personal fitness trainer at Sydney's Ultimate Fitness Centre on Kent Street. Ben is now training his next bout which has been confirmed as a State Title event in June 2016, taking him one step closer to an Australian Title.
Ben will be visiting Triple Care Farm, funded by Sir David Martin Foundation, later this month and experiencing first hand the hard work of the Foundation. Triple Care Farm is a residential rehabilitation and treatment program for young people between the ages of 16-24 years, from all over Australia. It is located in the Southern Highlands (NSW) and the program provides a safe place for change where young people feel secure and are encouraged to turn their lives around and reconnect with work and education.
Interview with Ben Savva
Question: Why did you decide to join forces with the Sir David Martin Foundation?
Ben Savva: As a professional boxer, I know the value of exercise and fitness and the great benefits it has on physical health and mental health. This is the perfect partnership for me as I can promote the benefits of physical activity and showcase the sport I love in a way that can improve the lives of people that I would not normally be able to assist.
As a brand ambassador for Sir David Martin Foundation, I will have the opportunity to support and make a positive and valuable difference to the lives of young people.
Question: Why is the Sir David Martin Foundation close to your heart?
Ben Savva: I grew up in a town in the United Kingdom called Great Yarmouth, which like many places around the world is not immune to the challenges of drugs and addiction. For young people, especially young boys, it was tough. There was a lot of crime and substance abuse and it was hard for many young boys to have much hope for their future.
After leaving the UK, I noticed the challenges faced by young people all over the world were remarkably similar. It also struck me that as I focused more on boxing and improving my health, that intense physical exercise such as boxing is an effective antidote to many of the challenges experienced by young people.
More recently, one of my very close friends from the UK committed a serious crime whilst under the influence of illicit drugs. I later learned that he had become a regular user of a variety of drugs and that his addiction had taken control of his life. As a result of the crime he committed while under the influence of drugs, apart from the devastating effects this crime has had on the victim and their family, my friend is now facing a 30-year prison sentence.
I have often thought that if there was an organisation such as Sir David Martin Foundation, he would have got the help he needed earlier, may not have committed the crime and found himself in the situation he is in.
Question: What is the Sir David Martin Foundation?
Ben Savva: Sir David Martin Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that is dedicated to helping young people regain their health, get off the streets and achieve their goals. For many young people this involves receiving support through rehabilitation to address unhealthy situations such as drug and alcohol abuse, violence, homelessness and crime. Sir David Martin Foundation funds effective programs helping young people aged 16 - 24 gain the support they need for a positive future.
Sir David Martin Foundation's vision is to create an environment where young people can grow up in safety, with hope and opportunity.
The Foundation funds effective programs for youth delivered by Mission Australia. The programs funded by Sir David Martin Foundation include Triple Care Farm (TCF), Creative Youth Initiative, South West Youth Services, Youth Scholarships and The Shopfront.
Triple Care Farm, funded by Sir David Martin Foundation, is a residential rehabilitation program that provides support for youth aged between 16-24. Throughout the year, the farm provides accommodation, support and vocational training for around 100 young people. The 12-week residential program supports young people in addressing their addiction, caring for their physical and mental health, learning skills to assist in further education or employment and equips them with life-skills to carry into a safe and positive future as members of the community.
Question: What do you hope to achieve as an ambassador for the Sir David Martin Foundation?
Ben Savva: As brand ambassador for Sir David Martin Foundation I hope to be able to highlight the excellent work of the Foundation and provide assistance through health and fitness training and advice for young people. I will use this position to highlight the challenges faced by so many young people in Australia, giving them a voice and encouraging awareness and support from the wider community.
The goal for me is to inspire young people to know and understand that they can achieve anything they apply themselves to if they are willing to do the work.
By focusing and dedicating effort to their health and physical activity, they will be able to reap the physical and mental rewards of exercise and channel their experiences into positive outcomes for themselves, their family and community.
Question: What are you doing as an ambassador for the Sir David Martin Foundation?
Ben Savva: As brand ambassador for Sir David Martin Foundation, I am supporting the Foundation through providing regular activities, boxing coaching sessions and fitness advice for young people who are in the programs funded by the Foundation. I will promote and raise awareness to the great work of the Foundation at all my boxing events and matches and have also committed to donating a portion of my prize pool to the organisation. As a goodwill gesture to celebrate the appointment to the role of brand ambassador, I donated 100% of my first prize purse for 2016.
Question: Can you share any details of your upcoming events with Sir David Martin Foundation?
Ben Savva: Recently (Wednesday 23 March 2016) I had my first visit to Triple Care Farm in the Southern Highlands. This was a great opportunity for me to further understand the organisation and experience first hand the work of the Foundation. While at Triple Care Farm, I had a one-on-one boxing training session with one of the young men at the farm. I also spoke with the farm residents about health and physical activity.
Visits to Triple Care Farm are scheduled to occur every few months and involve exercise sessions with the young residents and get them motivated to go to the gym, reclaim their health and inspire a positive change in their lives.
I will also be participating in Sir David Martin Foundation's Abseil for Youth in October, which gives both first time and experienced abseilers the opportunity to abseil 33 storeys down 1 Market Street in Sydney. People from all walks of life have the chance to face their fears through Abseil for Youth raising funds to help young people in crisis. This year is Abseil for Youth's 7th year and it has raised close to $2 million since 2009.
Question: What's a typical day like for you?
Ben Savva: A typical day for me involves:
Waking up at 5.15am and making a protein, fruit and egg white smoothie
6am boxing coaching at the Ultimate Fitness Centre on Kent Street. This includes group training sessions or 1-1 personal training sessions. Boxing coaching is usually until around 9am
After my last personal training session, I do my first training session that varies on a daily basis. It can include an 8km run, 6x800 metre sprints or strength and conditioning training
Rest and eating before next personal training client arrives around 12pm. I train clients until 2pm
At 2.30pm I work with my boxing coach. Depending on the day, we do pad work and/or sparring
I start my evening shift at the Ultimate Fitness Centre at 5.30pm and work until 7.30pm
Dinner involves lean meat and green vegetables and I like to get to bed early to prepare for the next day.
On the weekend, I do an agility and coordination session on Saturday morning, then I relax and rest until Monday.
Question: How are you preparing for your State Title fight in June?
Ben Savva: My typical day and training schedule from the previous question is the main preparation that I am doing for my State Title Fight. I work with my boxing coach on perfecting my skills with pad work and sparring. For the State Title fight, the only difference to my normal training schedule is that I will be flying to Brisbane in the next few weeks to spar with the number 5 Welterweight boxer in the World. This will be a great experience for me and is crucial to my preparation for the Title match.
Question: What advice do you have for young Australians interested in boxing?
Ben Savva: Boxing is a great sport for people of all ages. Boxing involves mental concentration as to how you can use your body and movements to avoid contact and land the perfect scoring shot on your opponent. It is not only a strength based sport, it is a high intensity sport and is perfect for people who are looking to stay active, regain their health without being bored with traditional forms of exercises such as running on a treadmill. I highly encourage young Australian's to enquire at their local gym for the boxing classes, and get in touch as to how they can incorporate boxing into their workout routine.
You have to start from somewhere. As long as you are motivated and dedicated to succeed, you can achieve anything. I have a passion for boxing and have continued working since the sport first attracted me as a young lad. For young Australian's who are interested in boxing, and pursuing life as a professional athlete, I couldn't recommend it highly enough.
Question: How can Australians support the Sir David Martin Foundation?
Ben Savva: Australian's can support Sir David Martin Foundation in a number of ways.
They are able to donate online through the Sir David Martin Foundation website (https://www.sdmf.org.au/donate-now), register to participate in Abseil for Youth (abseilforyouth.com) or fundraise in your own way by holding an activity with your family, friends, workplace or social group. Other support options include arranging donations in lieu of gifts for personal events, leaving a bequest, business partnership and investments.
To keep up to date with information about the Foundation, register online to receive their monthly eNews or visit their Facebook page.
Interview by Brooke Hunter