DETROIT (WXYZ) — The Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC) is a one-stop shop for kids trying to find their calling in life. There is a room dedicated to robotics and another housing a t-shirt printing shop.
Students come to the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation with big dreams and a lot of them end up accomplishing them.
"It is so great just learning,” said Jesus Sanchez, DHDC graduate.
Something just clicked for Jesus Sanchez. He says robotics is about problem-solving and finding the lesson in failure.
”You worked on the programming you worked on the mechanism and the droves--you're driving it that exhilarating feeling of creating something with a team and then having it work,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez described his childhood as rough.
There are a lot of kids who come through DHDC’s doors with similar stories.
Lex Zavala says the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation was created in 1997 by his mom, Angela Reyes.
The organizations catalyst, an uptick in gang violence.
”Mom and several other community members got the leaderships of the gangs together to call a truce at St. Anne’s,” said Lex Zavala, director of operations, DHDC.
"Literally one day we are shooting each other and literally the next day working together at the Hispanic manufacturing plant,” Zavala added.
The organization has now reached far beyond that.
Natalie Rivera found her love of art through DHDC’s Urban Graphix.
Her mentors helped her score a full scholarship to Specs Howard, and now, she runs the shop.
”I doubted myself a lot and I feel like they just really boosted my confidence a little---with all the opportunities they've given me,” said Natalie Rivera, DHDC graduate.
Zavala says 90% of the programs’ youth graduate from high school and go on to secondary education, trade school or the military.
“We have youth who've been artists and paint murals all over the world--we have a youth right now who just picked up a job at Tesla,” said Zavala.
The success of one child in Southwest Detroit is a win for the entire community.
DHDC caters to a lot of immigrant parents. Sanchez's mom says their support was life changing.
To learn more about DHDC's programs and services, you can visit WXYZ.com.