YMCA Teen Mentor and Major Influencer Fuentes Has Built a Huge Following on Social Media

Carlos Fuentes is a flourishing social media
star and mentor who is helping inspire others on their own health and fitness

And when we say star, well, Fuentes has more
than 56,000 followers, a number that is growing every day.

Chelsea residents, classmates, and childhood
friends will remember him well as the personable and multi-talented member of
the Jordan Boys and Girls Club (JBGC), the hard-working and helpful student at
CHS (Class of 2009), or the diligent staff member at the Chelsea Collaborative
where he worked with administrators Gladys Vega and Roseann Bongiovanni.

Fuentes credited former JGBC Executive
Director Josh Kraft for making his visits there a positive and productive

“Josh is definitely a person who helped me,” said Fuentest. “Patricia Manalo was the performing arts director and she was the first one to say to me, ‘it’s okay to put yourself out there and do something different’ “I did ballet, tap, singing, and dancing. She helped me get out my comfort zone and that’s what my current journey has been about.”

Chelsea resident Carlos Fuentes, teen program director at the East Boston YMCA and social media star, is pictured outside the youth development and community sports facility.

Reflecting on his job at the Collaborative,
Fuentes said, “Gladys and Rosie are awesome. They gave me my first job. I
worked at the Collaborative for five years as an environmental Chelsea

One of his childhood highlights was singing
at the Zakim Bridge opening ceremonies with superstar Bruce Springsteen.

Fuentes graduated from Wheelock College with
a degree in Social Work. While a college junior, he began working at the East
Boston YMCA.

Today he is the Teen Program Director at the
East Boston YMCA where he oversees relationships with the surrounding middle
and high schools and manages the academic credit recovery programs as well as Y
teen nights.

In 2016, Fuentes began posting photos of his
workouts, attendance at musicals, and his various travels on social media.

“I was doing cardio workouts and then I
signed up for personal training at the YMCA,” said Fuentes, who has lost 40
pounds on a three-year fitness program.

Fuentes said one of his transformation
photos became an overnight viral sensation, with no less than 800,000 likes

One of his fans praised his healthy
lifestyle and positive attitude, writing, “I believe in you, Carlos.”

Fuentes now posts videos every other day and
the demand for more interaction on social media is growing.

“I just recently learned how to swim, so a
lot of it is my swimming videos and my working out videos,” said Fuentes, whose
father, Jorge Pleitez, is from El Salvador and mother, Suyapa Fuentes, is from
Honduras. He has two older brothers, Miguel and Jorge.

Fuentes is part of the LGBT community and he
is often sought out for advice by people who consider him an inspiration and a
source of support.

James Morton, YMCA of Greater Boston
president and CEO lauded Fuentes who is part of a caring, dedicated staff that
has made the ‘Y’ a true community resource in East Boston.

“Carlos’ story is truly an inspiration to
all,” said Morton, who is an avid runner and fitness advocate himself. “When
people join the Y, they are seeking to improve themselves, but in actuality
they are also part of creating a better community. The Y helps teens with job
training, academic support, and college prep help.”

Ashley Genrich, aquatics director at the
East Boston YMCA, taught Fuentes how to swim.

“Carlos is one of hardest workers I’ve ever
met in my life,” said Genrich. “He figured it out pretty quickly and was hungry
to learn all the different strokes. Now he assists with our swim classes. The
kids love him. East Boston is such a family here and Carlos models what it is
to be a huge member of the this community and the family. He’s an awesome guy.”

Added Kate Martinez, 17, who works part time
in the teen program, “Being at the Y has always felt like a second home because
of Carlos. He helps me balance my schoolwork and sports. He’s also given me the
opportunity to support other youths with their homework and taking part in ‘Y’

Meanwhile, Fuentes is becoming so popular
and uplifting across many age groups and lifestyles that he is being approached
by clothing companies to promote their products. A local film maker has also
reached out to Fuentes for a project.

“I’m trying to see what endorsements are
available,” said Fuentes. “The response has been overwhelming. A lot of people
on Instagram say they appreciate me being vulnerable. Because of this platform
that I have, I am looking to expand my outreach.”

Fuentes said he’s pleased that the East
Boston ‘Y’ is attracting members from Chelsea. “It’s great that some of our
participants are from Chelsea. I’ve tried to make it known that Chelsea
residents are welcomed. My heart has always been Chelsea.”

And Fuentes is happily putting his hometown
and the East Boston YMCA on the map through his tremendous following on social

With his ability to lead and inspire others,
is an entry in to the political arena in his immediate future?

“I’ve thought
about it,” he admits. “But not right now.”

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YMCA Teen Mentor and Major Influencer Fuentes Has Built a Huge Following on Social Media

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