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Ontario mentor knocks it out in the ring with passion, poise

Eddie Melendrez is executive director of the Treasure Valley Youth Development Academy. The Ontario-based nonprofit uses boxing to help local kids gain confidence and leadership skills. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

ONTARIO – Eddie Melendrez didn’t get into boxing until he was 18. He was always too scared. It wasn’t the punching or the blood, it was just walking through the door. 

“I was shy,” he recalls. 

Then organizers put him in the ring teaching little kids. He figured out that while he was a great boxer, he was an even better mentor.

“That’s when I realized, whatever I do, it’s going to involve giving back,” said Melendrez. 

Now he’s the executive director of the Treasure Valley Youth Development Academy. 

Tucked into . . .