Like myself, Humberto got his start in the rough neighborhoods of the North end of Hartford where he was constantly surrounded by gangs and violence. One summer he was even homeless and lived in a shelter. But that didn’t stop Humberto from graduating high school and going on to being a firefighter and a boxer. When Humberto isn’t saving lives by fighting fires, he saving lives by teaching our youth to box and behave like a responsible citizen. Humberto picks kids up off of the street and drives them to boxing where he gives them advice on life and encourages them to do well in school, and become disciplined through boxing.
- Humberto, did you always know that you wanted to serve others and help today’s youth?
I always wanted to help people out. It just felt like the right thing to do. When me, my brothers and mother was homeless there was people who helped us. I guess I always remembered that.
- Can you walk us through how you first got started in your career path?
With boxing I had a trainer who didn’t really take care of me. In my first fight i was set up to fight someone who over matched me in experience, weight, and power. I learned from that experience and didn’t want anybody to go through what I had. I started training kids and adults and would properly set up matches. Firefighting was something I was always interested in. I trained hard to be physically fit to do the job. It’s a job where I can help people and also save property in the city I was raised.
- How did you handle the bumps in the road? Were there any moments when you wondered if all your hard work was worth it?
Growing up in Hartford, life was full of bumps. At 13 years of age I had a gun pointed to my head on my way home from school. There was so much gang violence. A lot of my friends were in gangs and also selling drugs. I tried to stay positive and stayed focus on graduating high school, even when I saw them with new sneakers on, while I was still wearing the same old sneakers for the last 8 months.
- I’m wondering if you can help us understand what you attribute your success to.
My mother. She was a single mom of 3 boys. When I was around 5 years old we lived in a shelter. My mom could’ve just gave up but instead she went back to school and got her high school diploma. After that she took some courses to improve her English and got a job and never stopped working. She would work 10 hours days in a factory to make sure we had a roof over our head, food in our stomach, and clothes for school. She would take me and my brothers to the park and hit baseballs to us. She taught us to play the sport of baseball. My brother John and I eventually played varsity baseball for our high school.
- What do teens need today more than anything else?
Communication. Teens are afraid to speak up these days. If there’s something bothering them they rather keep it to themselves due to the fear of looking soft to there friends. There’s so many people that are willing to help you, but if you don’t say anything then they can’t help.
- Humberto, what would you tell a teen who was struggling?
Stay positive. The fast life only last for so long and then you’re done. The struggle is only going to make you a better man in the future. Nothing good comes easy. Keep your mind focus on school and find an activity to keep you away from the negatives.
- What else do you want to tell us about what you do and what you want to eventually be doing?
I have trained 2 boxers to win the golden gloves and also trained one to win a national title. I enjoy helping kids and teens reach there goals in boxing weather it’s win a fight or get in shape. As a firefighter it’s the most rewarding job when you can save someone’s home from losing everything. One day I would love to have my own gym! Helping everybody that walks in my gym weather its training them, helping the kids with there homework or raising money for school clothes for the youth.
- How can people get in touch with you if they have additional questions?
They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your time Humberto and keep up the good work! Our youth needs more people like you!
Author and Speaker of the Granddaddy’s Secrets teen leadership book series.
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