By Mike Kinney
Anti-youth violence advocate Juan Nunez is outreaching with local spiritual and religious leaders — including the venerable Buddhist monk Thupten Donyo from the Gyuto Foundation Monastery in Richmond — to bolster his longtime efforts to prevent youth violence.
Nunez owns and runs Juan’s Gym at 12718 San Pablo Ave. in Richmond, where he teaches everyone from youth to senior citizens how to defend themselves from bullies and assaults. He is also president and founder of God’s Creations Men’s Social Club, an extension of Nunez’s more than two decades of work teaching anti-bullying programs and raising funds for charities and nonprofit organizations.
Now, Nunez is looking to higher powers to support his efforts. He recently met with the Ven. Donyo at the Richmond monastery.
“I saw a great need to start making outreach to our religious and spiritual leaders here in Richmond to help stop the violence and killing with youth and educate them in non-violence and learning the values of living in peace,” Nunez said.
Donyo supports Nunez’s vision.
“It is important to educate our youth and young adults in the values of human life, non-violence and living in peace,” he said. “We must show them they must not engage in acts of violence or negative acts. Our young people must avoid negative acts from the from body, speech and the mind.”
Nunez said outreach to spiritual and religious leaders was important because they garner respect.
“I find that local clergy may have better chances getting through to them,” Nunez said.
He added, “Local cities are not doing a good job of protecting vulnerable citizens. We need to support and help lookout more for our communities. Nobody respects anyone anymore. We have to keep on trying to make positive change to help make our communities a safer place to live in. “
God’s Creations Men’s Social Club patrolled Oakland’s Chinatown in 2021 because of the violence and armed robbery targeting local residents. Nunez recalled receiving welcoming smiles and waves from local residents and even the police.
“It was from there, I learned how important it was for the community to lookout for the welfare and well-being of our own communities,” Nunez said. “So, I decided to start reaching out to our local spiritual and religious leaders so we could help make a true difference and a positive change. “