Timothy overcame unparalleled adversity to win the gold medal in the 90 kg. IJF Junior Division
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — Timothy Andrews wasn’t expected to be a champion. But on Sunday, July 19, at the Junior U.S. Open International Judo Championships held at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla, that’s exactly what happened. Timothy, age 19, defied the odds and won the gold medal in the 90 kg. IJF Junior Division.
The U.S. Open tournament is one of the most prestigious worldwide junior competitions in the sport of Judo, attracting nearly 600 competitors from 45 states and 25 countries. Timothy, training under the tutelage of “sensei” Ghalib Carmichael of the Onikusu Judo Club in Fort Lauderdale, is consistently ranked among the very top in the United States.
But Timothy hasn’t had an easy road to success. At age nine, Timothy was removed from his home and placed with his maternal grandmother. As the child of a drug addicted mother and absent father, Timothy endured many hardships due to no fault of his own. Since then, Timothy has spent the majority of his life with his grandmother as the primary caregiver to him and his siblings.
As one might anticipate, Timothy’s childhood was fraught with significant anger issues. It’s why he was often in trouble at school and even had contact with the juvenile justice system. Sadly, several of his siblings have experienced incarceration. To prevent Timothy from pursuing a self-destructive path, he was referred at age 12 to Helping Abused, Neglected, Disadvantaged Youth (HANDY), an award-winning organization with a long history of supporting at-risk children in Broward County.
After getting to know Timothy, HANDY connected him to the Onikusu Judo Club as a way to harness his emotions. The results were astounding. He soared to the top of his class and soon, the top ranks of Judo. Timothy now competes across America and with financial backing from HANDY and his Judo club, has represented the United States national team in France and Ukraine.
Besides Judo, the constant force in Timothy’s life has been HANDY. Predicated on a family-based model, HANDY helps Timothy avoid pressures such as drugs, gangs and violence. They provide Timothy with housing assistance, tutoring support, life skills and a dedicated social worker who serves as a surrogate parent. “Timothy Andrews is a testament to the power of resiliency and never giving up on your dreams,” said HANDY CEO Evan Goldman. “His positive attitude inspires the younger generation of HANDY youth to reach their full potential.”
Timothy graduated from Stranahan High School in May and plans to attend Broward College. Balancing his studies and world-class training is no tall order, but Timothy is driven to succeed. Despite the international success he has already achieved, Timothy remains grounded and humble. “I would like to thank Sensei Carmichael, my HANDY Life Coach Richard Charlemon and everyone at HANDY for their support,” Timothy said. “Judo gave me a positive outlet for my emotions and helped transformed my life. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m going to do everything in my power to one day represent the United States in the Olympic Games. That’s my goal and that’s my dream.”
HANDY’s mission is to embrace, educate and empower vulnerable youth to become engaged and productive adults. Founded in 1985, HANDY has met the needs of more than 50,000 Broward County children and youth in foster, relative and non-relative care. HANDY annually serves more than 1,300 at-risk children between the ages of nine–25.