WBC World Welterweight Boxing Champion Victor “Vicious” Ortiz joins Big Brothers Big Sisters to serve as a celebrity ambassador to help increase awareness for its quality mentoring programs that help children who face adversity beat the odds.
The announcement comes two weeks before the mega-fight between Ortiz and Floyd “Money” Mayweather airing Sept. 17th on HBO live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The partnership kicks off with public service announcements in both English and Spanish that feature the boxer, who encourages adult males to become champions for local youths who are in search of mentors. Children of color, primarily Hispanic and African-American boys, disproportionately represent those waiting to be matched with Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors. The PSAs will be distributed to television stations around the country via the mentoring network’s nearly 370 local agencies.
“Working with Big Brothers Big Sisters is perfect for me because I can relate to where the kids in the program are coming from – I grew up in a broken home and by the time I was 13 years old, both of my parents had left,” said 22-year-old Ortiz. “I’m happy to be a part of an organization that gives kids a greater chance to succeed and inspires them to believe they can achieve great things.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters holds itself accountable for helping children who face adversity achieve positive, measurable outcomes, including educational success, higher aspirations and confidence, improved relationships and risky behavior avoidance. The organization relies on funding to carefully make mentoring matches and provide ongoing support to mentors, mentees and their families, helping sustain the long-term, successful relationships unique to its programs.
“Victor’s story is a powerful example for kids who are facing adversity and we are very fortunate to have him in our corner. It is our hope that he will motivate other Latino men to become mentors and inspire others to support our programs so we can continue to provide children with quality mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever,” said Hector Cortez, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Senior Director for Strategic Diversity Initiatives and Chief Diversity Officer.
Ortiz was in born in Garden City, Kan., and has quickly climbed the ranks in the boxing world. Introduced to the sport by his father at the age of seven, Ortiz and his siblings soon had to deal with life on their own after both their parents left. Resilient and determined to make something of his life, the 12-year-old Ortiz worked in the cornfields to make ends meet. By 13 he was taken in by a neighboring family and reunited with his siblings two years later when his older sister took custody of him.
As a celebrity ambassador, Ortiz will volunteer his time and resources to assist Big Brothers Big Sisters with public outreach, recruitment of mentors and fundraising activities to support its professionally supported mentoring programs.