Juan’s Gym lifts both weights and college careers

At Juan's Gym, both weights and college careers are lifted
Juan Nunez
By Mike Kinney

Along with training in boxing and weightlifting, Richmond’s Juan’s Gym can add “college and career counseling” to its list of offerings.

The gym’s owner, boxing/weight-trainer Juan Nunez, is known for training youth and adults in his sports as well as for his anti-bullying initiatives and other community service work.

While he trains students to gain confidence in the ring, in recent years Nunez has also found himself encouraging their aspirations in the classroom and career market. How important is education to the boxing coach? Because of Nunez’s mentoring, one of his students recently dropped out of training at the gym so he could attend college full-time.

According to Nunez, many of the 11th and 12th grade students who train at his gym at 12718 San Pablo Ave. are uncertain what to do after graduating from high school. Over the last two years, 15 students he’s counseled have enrolled in college, either to seek a degree or career certificate.

Nunez meets with his students’ parents to support their college/career search and readiness. He’s also established a connection with Leticia Mendoza, EOPS/CARE Outreach Coordinator Student Services Division at Contra Costa College, to lay down a track for the students he mentors.

“I tell them that getting career training or a degree or both can be done at Contra Costa College,” Nunez said.

Nunez admits he wasn’t the best student in school, and learned at age 16 he suffered from dyslexia, a learning disability. While school seemed easy for his friends, Nunez struggled and ended up dropping out of school. At age 15, he started weightlifting and powerlifting under professionals who, like him today, served as mentors.

“I have a lot of respect for them, because they changed my life forever,” he said.
While Nunez stresses the importance of an education in the modern world.
Mendoza says Contra Costa College provides that and more.
“Contra Costa College is highly important to the young people in the community, it keeps the kids off the streets and  presents a wonderful opportunity for them to get a real career training and a degree in 2 years,” Mendoza said. “Or if they wish, can transfer to a 4 year college or university, having done their first to 2 years here at Contra Costa College. We make sure our students are prepared for today’s job market.”
For more information on how to get support for your college readiness and career, contact Nunez at (510) 815-1066, and Mendoza at (510) 215-3942