On September 14, 2015, Southpaw sensation Fidel “The Atrisco Kid” Maldonado, Jr (23-3, 17 knockouts) gave words of encouragement to staff and students at the Albuquerque Job Corps Center (AJCC). Maldonado is said to be a tough hard-nosed aggressive-minded, left hander who holds many boxing titles in the ring and a determined level-headed focused individual outside of the ring. Maldonado, who grew up on the Westside of Albuquerque has had to overcome many difficulties, much like the students on Center. He began training with his father at the age of 5, after losing his mother at the age of 4, and started competing at the age of 8 years old as a boxer. This, as he told the audience, was a blessing and a curse. A curse because he had students at school trying to challenge him, to beat him up, to bully him to try to prove they were tougher than he was. He learned from the very beginning: to become the person you want to be, you must be resilient and not let others change the path you are on. That is where the blessing comes in for him. He had the blessing of being able to stay focused on a path, a future, even though things didn’t seem to be going in the right direction. He always had boxing to look forward to. Maldonado challenged the students to set goals, look for a dream and then do everything they can do to achieve it. He discussed how being bully free will help them become better people and achieve a future they dream about.
Youth to Youth (Y2Y) is a campaign on Center that focuses on preventing violence and being bully-free. On Monday, Maldonado kicked off a week of activities to bring attention to these very serious topics. Y2Y aims to start the discussion amongst all students and staff to solve issues and begin to develop strategies to assist one another in all types of situations. Maldonado, aged 24 with three small children, helps give back to the community with a personal gym in his back yard. He wants to provide a true training experience and provide a place where young people can learn to be themselves in a bully-free environment.