Corner Team, Inc. uses sports to build 

strong minds, bodies, and communities.

We work together with community residents and strategic partners to shape the world's future Champions for Life. 

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In The Press

Corner Team, Inc. uses boxing to build strong minds, bodies, and communities.

The Vision is clear: building strong minds, bodies, and communities creates champions for life--leaders inspiring positive change.

Corner Team, Inc. is organized around the longstanding and successful tradition of community sports programs that address holistic well being at the neighborhood level to shape Champions for Life! Engagement in any sports activity provides opportunities for social interaction and skill-building within diverse settings. Sports foster pride and increase self-esteem. Sports teach leadership  and discipline, and support physical, mental, and social fitness. Through sports, Corner Team, Inc. connects our Champions to local resources, mentors, academic tutoring, economic opportunities, and healthy living strategies that grow tomorrow's leaders and inspire the change we want to see for all. 


Founded in 2015 by Professional Boxer, and former Ghanaian, National Champion Michael Gbenga as Corner Team Boxing, we are realizing a greater mission that incorporates sports, community engagement, and social innovation. The new Corner Team, Inc has also expanded our mission beyond a focus on youth to include programs that engage senior citizens and people with disabilities populations typically overlooked by organized sports programs but equally in need of the benefits that come from active participation in them.

Why are we called the "corner team"?

Corner Team was selected as the name for the small, start-up community-boxing program founded by Professional Boxer Michael Gbenga, from which this organization was born. In the sport of boxing, a fighter’s Corner Team serves as the eyes and ears of the fighter, providing strategy, support, and solid decision-making to ensure that a fighter comes out of his/her bout, a Champion.


The symbolism of the Corner Team’s role translates nicely into the mission and vision for Corner Team, Inc. We are here to use sports to engage, build strong minds, bodies, and communities—to ensure that everyone receives the support, tools, and care needed to successfully compete in all challenges faced in life.


What does it mean to be a Corner Team champion for life?

Everyone who walks through our doors or engages with Corner Team, Inc. are Champions and members of the team! We are inspired by our Champions’ continued pursuit of greatness and support their pursuit through programs and strategic partnerships. In return, we expect our Champions to maintain a level of greatness that allows them to succeed at any challenge they face and in so doing, inspire their families, peers, and surrounding neighborhoods.

Our Corner Team Champions exhibit confidence that they can excel in anything they choose to take on because:

  1. Our Champions are successful in school, in their studies, and carry a thirst for life-long learning

  2. Our Champions make informed and positive decisions about their health and holistic well being

  3. Our Champions serve as positive leaders among their peers and within their communities



who is part of the corner team?

The Corner Team is made up of more than our Champions and organization staff. The Corner Team consists of the entire network of support that ensures the success of our Champions and our programs—our families and friends, our volunteers, community partners, financial donors, and city officials. The Corner Team consists of our neighbors who come out to cheer us on when we pass through the streets, celebrate with us at our events, and reach out to our Champions to let them know that they are proud of their accomplishments!


Corner Team, Inc. is governed by its Board of Directors according to the organization's Articles of Incorporation and By-laws. We are a diverse group of talented and committed partners, dedicated to ensuring the success of this organization.

2019-2020 Board of Directors


Sara Artes

Sara Artes is a life-long resident of the Ednor Gardens-Lakeside neighborhood. Sara worked as a Community Organizer for the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello Community Corporation after graduating from college and then started a career in cultural resource management which has taken her across the country and around the world. For over a decade she has worked in National Parks and now for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Sara and her husband Michael Gbenga, founded Corner Team Boxing, a youth boxing outreach initiative in North and Northeast Baltimore City.

Sara's vision for Corner Team, Inc. is one in which Corner Team, Inc. is a strong community partner and stake-holder that provides state-of- the-art health/wellness facilities and programming to the public. She envisions robust programs that works with dedicated neighborhood residents, teachers, and other professionals to provide resources that ensure academic, leadership, and civic success.  She envisions program expansion that continually pushes the boundaries of sports to engage non-“boxing”- traditional communities. Finally, she envisions Corner Team, Inc. as a place for inspiration where new friendships are developed among members and program participants that spread the value of diversity and teamwork. Where teachers, business owners, city officials, and higher education institutions work across disciplines to effectively partner with the organization to support the success of the next generation of society.


Diana Philip

Diana Philip has been working in public interest law and nonprofit organizations for over 30 years in issues involving gender-based violence, reproductive justice, civil liberties, and youth advocacy. Diana is a seasoned crisis intervention specialist and advocate having worked many years in domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, youth crisis hotlines, and reproductive healthcare clinics. Diana has a long history of helping to launching numerous nonprofits and engaging in coalition work.  She currently serves on the board of directors of Skatepark of Baltimore as well as the Baltimore Homeless Youth Initiative. Diana holds a B.A. in criminal justice and sociology from Indiana University and an M.S. in women’s and gender studies from Towson University.


Michael Gbenga

Boxing is a blessing for Michael "The Amazing" Gbenga, and has provided him a means to leave Accra, Ghana, travel around the world, and build a fulfilling life.  Through his work as a professional boxer, trainer, and manager, and mentor, Michael continues to give back to the sport all that he was afforded, and provide others with the same opportunities. 


With an outstanding amateur boxing career under his belt, Michael "The Amazing" Gbenga turned professional in 2001. Within 5 years, Michael won the African Boxing Union's, Light Heavyweight title and fought for the Commonwealth (British Empire) Super Middleweight title. Before shifting his career to the United States, Michael Gbenga clenched the Ghana Light Middleweight national title. In the United States, Michael Gbenga has continued a successful, professional boxing career, taking on names such as Andre Dirrell, Badou Jack, and Derrick Webster! 


Outside of the ring, Michael lives with his family in Baltimore, Maryland. He works with athletes of all types to develop fitness and positive lifestyle changes. He founded Corner Team Boxing, a youth boxing outreach program, free to all students ages 8-17 in 2015. Michael Gbenga is a certified Boxing Coach with USA Boxing and member of the South Atlantic Boxing Commission. 

Andrew Young

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Jawaun Yarbrough

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Shane Bryan

Shane Bryan serves as the Assistant Director of JHU SOURCE, the center for community engagement and service-learning at the Johns Hopkins University Health Professional Schools. In this role, Shane advises students and student groups involved in the Baltimore Community, coordinates co-curricular service-learning projects, plans events exploring the history of Baltimore as it relates to social justice and builds upon relationships with SOURCE partnering community-based organizations.

He received degrees in Political Science and Communication Studies at the University of South Dakota. Upon graduating, he served two terms as a Maryland-DC Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA with the University of Maryland, College Park working with a local high school to establish a formal partnership to support the students and the community surrounding the school. After completing his terms of service, Shane worked in the Department of Community Services and Recreation for the City of Hyattsville, a community in Prince Georges County.


Shane is very passionate for local community engagement and politics. He is President of the Ednor Gardens – Lakeside Civic Association, Treasurer of GEDCO Stadium Place, Secretary of the Northeast Community Organization and Vice-President of Corner Team, Inc. Shane enjoys attending events, meeting new people and learning more about the City he calls home, Baltimore.

Shane’s vision for Corner Team Inc. is that it provides a physical space to create and build community around sports and supporting programming. Bringing people together and creating a shared story is lacking in too many neighborhoods across our city. Corner Team Inc. is uniquely positioned to bring neighbor together, to celebrate community and look toward a better tomorrow.

Vice President

April Mitchell

Higher learning for Ms. April J. Mitchell began in 2000 when she started her undergraduate career at Fairmont State University.  During her journey in Fairmont, she was heavily involved with her community, on and off campus. Eventually in 2004, she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Sociology and minor in psychology. Directly after graduation, her past involvement with several statewide organizations lead to her to a unique opportunity to serve as an Americorps Vista (Volunteers in Service to America).

As an Americorps*VISTA (2004-2006), her primary objective was to help bring communities and individuals out of poverty through indirect service.  Through the VISTA service with the West Virginia Center for Civic Life, she engaged in a wide range of collaborative activities, all designed to build the capacity of the organization and the citizens it serves to address problems that face WV.

Next, Ms. Mitchell was a graduate student in the Master’s of Public Administration Program where she was also awarded a HUD Fellowship of the Community Development Work-study Program.  Within this fellowship she served in the capacity of an intern for the Fairmont and Morgantown Housing Authority, Community Visions Foundation at the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce, the Office of the City of Morgantown and the Community Development Office.

Also, she was involved with the NOVA Institute located in the Division of Social Work.   As the program administrator for the Democracy Lab Program, she assisted in instructing approximately 100 WVU undergraduate students that are enrolled in a Social Work 105 course. Students engaged in a web-based national public dialogue program that addresses major topics concerning the country such as Racial and Ethnic Tensions in America.

Currently, she is a Special Needs Assistance Programs Specialist for Community Planning and Development within the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The dynamics of local community development versus implementation of federal policy via various federal funding streams remains of high interest and she is passionate about the role federal government plays in life of American citizens. She plans to continue focusing her career and future experience in public service/administration and community development.

Ms. April J. Mitchell is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Mitchell. She is originally from Beckley, West Virginia where most of her family currently resides.  Her two children, Jean and Danielle Mitchell, bring her much joy and love.

Lisa Smith

Bio coming soon...


Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith serves as Program Manager for the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks at Walter P. Carter Recreation Center. He is also an amazing DJ!

Tanya Crawley

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2019-2020 Advisory Board

Linnea Anderson

Photo courtesy of Doug Lent

Marcia Pappas Devaney

Becky Thomson

Arthurine Walker

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