They say if you want to test a man’s character, you put him in power. When Javier “Casper” Saavedra was growing up in Hyattsville, Maryland, he did what most underprivileged could do in his area to survive; he joined a gang and began a rough and questionable lifestyle. Now twenty-five years-old, Javier looks back and tells us, “I couldn’t believe where I was heading, I needed to get back on track.” At the age of seventeen Javier met Mayra, and for the next couple years, she insisted he get himself out of the gangs and better himself. While he listened, the change finally came when Javier and Mayra had their first child, a daughter named Julissa. The birth of his daughter made him want to be a better man. So Javier went to speak with George Norris, a gang-unit sergeant, about finding a way out of the destructive pattern of life he had fallen into. Javier joined a group known as Identity which would play a large part in his redemption by removing his gang-affiliated tattoos that he had gathered throughout the years. When their second child, Anthony, was born, Javier and Mayra decided to get the young kids involved in something that would keep them away from the same trouble Javier was brought into. Because of the children’s age they knew they couldn’t build a vehicle, so instead Javier purchased a bicycle frame from his friend Sal. The kids both took to the bicycle very well and that motivated Javier to keep going. He enlisted Big Turtle to help get the bicycle to the next level by adding baby blue paint along with gold pearls, while Ron Hernandez added his pinstripe expertise. With the help of Danny Justdeez and Pedal Scrapers rounding out the construction, the bike, now known as “Niño Malo,” reached beyond everyone’s expectations. Javier created his own freedom away from the violence that he was subjected to. He is in control for the first time in his life and is now able to raise his children the right way. Completely reinventing himself, Javier has shown that no matter what adversity can be thrown at you, you can always better yourself if you have the motivation. With “Niño Malo,” Javier and Mayra have shown their children that anything is possible.
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