About the Founder

Christopher D. Valdez, Director of the Youth Corps of America, Inc. Chris comes from the Youth Corps of America, Inc. where he serves as the Executive Director and Founder. He is the father of three children and has an extensive background in program development and prevention strategies. Chris has a Master’s degree from Prescott College in Sustainable Business Management, and a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, and Business Management.

He has been teaching outdoor education, after-school programs, adult education, and mentoring for over 20 years. With over 25 years’ experience working with at-risk youth he has a broad background of experience and training. As a former at-risk youth, Chris entered the United States Marines to stay out of trouble and uses the leadership skills he has learned to steer youth on the right path.

As a former police officer, and Sergeant as a corrections officer, Chris knows first-hand the issues facing at-risk youth today. With many years’ experience in boxing and the martial arts and holding an 8th degree black-belt in Kajukenbo Self-Defense, and a 5th degree black-belt in Shotokan karate, Chris attributes boxing for keeping him from at-risk activities. As a former professional boxer, Chris knows how to attract the most unreachable youth and does so at his boxing and martial arts gym located at 1420 S. Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85711. He has received training from the Rehabilitation Supervisors course in Quantico Virginia, and has achieved several law enforcement training certifications in both Arizona and Colorado. Chris completed the Outdoor Educators course from the National Outdoor Leadership School, NOLS, The American Mountain Guides Association, AMGA, is a substance abuse and prevention trainer and has received numerous program awards for his innovation and excellence in programming.

Some of those include: 2010 Outstanding After-School Professional, Arizona After-School Excellence Committee, 2010, Teddy Award for violence prevention, Arizona Parks and Recreation Association: “Best Program for Teens” 1985, “Most Innovative Program” 1998, SAMSHA Promising Practice, Model Program, “Family Self Sufficiency Program”. His unique style of prevention makes him successful with local Weed and Seed program managers, the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, ACJC, and local schools.

Chris maintains strong working collaborations with the Tucson Police Department, the Tucson Parks and Recreation Department, The Pima County Sheriff’s Office, Juvenile courts, the Tucson Unified School District, and all communities where programs are being run. Chris understands the importance of mentoring and prevention and is resolved to bring underprivileged youth to their full potential through innovated prevention programs