Boxing taught Alberto Ortiz to roll with the punches.
Born and raised in the South Bronx - Ortiz says he was surrounded by poverty, gangs, and domestic violence as a kid.
"I consider myself to be blessed growing up in that environment. Because from a young age -- just like they say about language -- it's easier to learn something if you're younger -- how strong could you possibly be if you learn to be strong at a young age?" Ortiz said.
Ortiz found an outlet in boxing - a sport he says kept both his mind and body fit.
"Boxing definitely made me mentally stronger by keeping me calm when I felt like the world was attacking me," Ortiz said.
Reflecting on what the sport did for him, the gym owner wanted to make it accessible to young people growing up in communities like he did.
So he launched a non-profit called "Youth Boxing for Change."
Out of his NoHo gym, Ortiz gives no-cost weekly boxing classes to teens, giving them a fighting chance when life gets tough.
"I don't want to teach you how to punch and break things, I want to teach you how to get punched and stay calm. Because that's going to happen in every-day life. You get hit? You forget it. Move on and learn from it," Ortiz said.
Since he started the program two years ago, hundreds of teens have learned discipline and gained confidence.
Marlon Vargas is one of them. The 19-year-old says he once struggled with anxiety.
"It's become one of my favorite hobbies because I get to release my stress and it empowers me as a person and I just can't see myself not doing it," Vargas said.
That's exactly what motivates Ortiz to stay focused on his non-profit. Showing kids that when life knocks you down, all it takes is a little patience to get back on your feet.
"I want to see our youth being able to handle conflict and stuff so they can continue to pursue their dreams," Ortiz said.
So for teaching teens lessons that can be used in both the ring and life, Alberto Ortiz is our New Yorker of the Week.