Dalia Gomez "La Pantera"
"The time is always ripe to do what's right" - by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr is one of Dalia's favorite quotes right now. She finds that as woman. she sometimes gets so busy multi-tasking that it's hard to just stop, stay in the moment and think about what important things need to be handled "now". Dalia juggles her time as PE Teacher at Roots International Academy in Oakland, fulfilling her dream of being a professional boxer and serving her community as a youth mentor.
Dalia's devotion to working with and mentoring youth came from her challenges as a college student. She earned a basketball scholarship to Evergreen State College in Washington and headed off to school. After being charged with a DUI she lost her scholarship. Dalia refused to let that be the end of her success story. She started boxing to stay in shape. She found a mentor at the college and worked hard for the next year to prove that she was bigger than one mistake and deserved to be there. Her scholarship was reinstated and Dalia walked the stage as the first of 8 siblings to get a college degree. Boxing took a back seat to real life, but 10 years later after exiting a bad relationship, she picked her gloves back up. "Boxing saved my life."She decided to pursue her goal of becoming a professional boxer. Belief in herself and making the maximum commitment toward her goals has helped Dalia make a name for herself in this male dominated sport. "We need to realize we can do ANYTHING in ANY area."
This is something she instills in the young adults she mentors and trains. Her messages to the kids focus on results. "I don't use the word mistake with them, it's negative. We talk about results and our power to change." Being a woman in general is difficult, especially in a sport such as boxing. She teaches young ladies to understand the beauty of constructive criticism, that it's someone trying to help fix your crown. She teaches them about loving their temples. Dalia teaches girls the importance of sports in leadership. Sports teaches collaboration, communication, commitment and how to remain mentally prepared. "If kids can have fun, be active and develop a relationship with a mentor- they can escape any negativity in their life."
Dalia has found a way to combine her passion for boxing, community and traveling and has made two volunteer trips to Nicaragua to hand-deliver donated boxing gloves, mouthpieces and sports bras. On the most recent trip, she took two teens from East Oakland to feel first-hand the beauty of giving and to experience the world outside of Oakland. Together they built a basketball hoop at a local school. This is just the beginning as Dalia is already in contact with a youth boxing trainer in Africa discussing possible trips. Dalia has recently helped create the app SportsConnectUs, tailored to those competitive at heart to socialize, talk sports and train. Her future goals are to take 10 teens on upcoming trips, open her own gym and offer an international exchange program. We are excited to feature Dalia as January's Woman of the Month, she is a true example of a strong woman honoring herself and her community.