Abraham Montijo – Head Coach and Program Director
Abraham is a native of Tucson with family roots in Magdalena, Mexico. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Management with a minor in Sports Management. He is an accomplished handball player, currently ranked 13th on the WPH Race 4 Eight pro tour.
Abraham is the perfect example of someone who gives back to a sport from which he has received great benefits. As a young teenager he was introduced to handball by friends who were involved in the Yes 2 Kids program. As a member of the program, he traveled to cities around the country, competing in junior handball tournaments. Along the way he made friends with kids and adults from other cities inside and outside the continental United States. His personality development was instrumental in taking a giant step in the world of handball, the creation of his own junior handball program. As a college student, he began working as a program instructor for Tucson Parks and Recreation at their Freedom Park location. The center had a newly constructed 3-wall court on which Abraham taught handball to the local children who frequented the center. Shortly thereafter Abraham assumed the duties as Executive Director of Yes 2 Kids where he successfully integrated the children involved in his Freedom Park program.
During the summer of 2012, Abraham was hired by the WPH to lead its Tucson Handball Project. The WPH teamed with Tucson Parks and Recreation to introduce handball to hundreds of children attending summer camps. At the beginning of the new school year, Abraham created after school practice sessions at another local park. Several of the kids involved in the summer program have continued to receive instruction two days a week. One of the kids loves the game to the extent she has a perfect attendance record.
In a nutshell the number of children playing handball in Tucson on a consistent basis has quadrupled in the last decade, mainly due to the efforts of Abraham Montijo.
Alfonso Romero – Assistant Coach
Alfonso Romero, affectionately known as “Fonzie” is employed full-time by the City of Tucson as a recreation assistant for the past thirteen years. Some of his duties have included development and coordination of after school programs, summer camps, winter camps, teen programs, junior leaders, youth sports, and park and ball field maintenance.
Alfonso has served as chairman and committee member for many city-wide and departmental special events including Family Festival in the Park, Senior Olympics, American Parks and Recreation Association Conference, and the Tour for Tucson’s Children.
Fonzie has ably assisted Abraham Montijo with various handball programs including Freedom Park and Yes 2 Kids. He has been a stabilizing influence and mentor for the children when accompanying them on out of town handball tournaments. His philosophy is to always believe in yourself, your dreams and strive to make a difference in others through knowledge and wisdom.
Angel Estrella – Assistant Coach
At the ripe old age of 18, Angel is the youngest member of the coaching staff. He has been playing handball since the age of nine as a member of the Yes 2 Kids program. He has a number of handball achievements including winning the 13 and Under USHA National Junior 3-Wall Championship which he attained five years ago in Venice Beach, Ca.
Angel has assisted Abraham Montijo with practice sessions at Randolph Park. He has shown great maturity in mentoring the younger players. Upon graduation from Sunnyside High School, Angel will attend Pima Community College. He hopes to jump start the handball club that has been dormant for the last few years.
Luis Estrella – Assistant Coach
Luis is a native Tucsonan who began playing handball fourteen years ago. He is one of the original kids recruited by John Henning, Co-Founder of Yes 2 Kids, from Pueblo Gardens Elementary School. Luis is a recent graduate of the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. He plans on continuing his education and hopes to attain a Master’s Degree in Social work.
Luis feels handball has played a very important part in his development. He extols the virtues the sport has helped him achieve including responsibility, competitiveness, sportsmanship and an active lifestyle. In addition he credits handball as a means of developing lifelong friendships with people he has interacted with during his many years of tournament travel.
Richie Estrella – Assistant Head Coach
Richie was born in Los Angeles, California and moved to Tucson at the age of four. He was introduced to handball when he was in grammar school by his cousins who were involved in the Yes 2 Kids program. He is a graduate of Tucson High School and is currently enrolled at Pima Community College.
Richie is an accomplished handball instructor. He has been a role model and chaperone in accompanying the Y2K program on it’s out of town handball excursions. He relates extremely well with the young children. This past summer he was an instrumental part of the WPH’s Tucson Handball Project that introduced handball to hundreds of kids enrolled in summer camps around the City of Tucson. Currently he assists with the after school practice sessions held at the Randolph Center and the Tucson Racquet Club.
The experiences have inspired Richie to major in education. He hopes to become an elementary school teacher upon earning his degree.