Connect with Ricardo Martinez
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/Hispanic Center of Western Michigan
Stephanie Menendez on her graduation day with Rachel Lopez and Ricardo Martinez
The Hispanic Center of Western Michigan's Youth Advocate, Ricardo Martinez, works with Grand Rapids youth ranging from ages 14 to 21.
"It is challenging," says Martinez. "I make sure kids get all the help that they need; making sure that they not only graduate from high school but also go on to college." Martinez found his passion when he was just 14 years old. He admits to being a trouble kid when he was younger, but looking for something more. He changed his life around from being a trouble maker to being well educated because someone took the time to talk to him to really get it through his head.
Today, Martinez has been working with the youth for over 40 years.
"We have all these kids people call 'hardheads' or call them names like 'stupid' or 'dumb,'" says Martinez. "Those kids really need our help to just take 15 minutes of their time to talk to them. You'll see that they really aren't."
When asked what he enjoys most about his job, Martinez admits it is the kids.
"I enjoy what I do it's my passion it's what keeps me going," he says. "I get kids who are just getting into high school, they start off by calling me all sorts of names and by the time they're in their senior they end up calling me 'Grandpa.' I just love watching the transformation."
To learn more about Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, please visit their website.
What I want to be in life is nothing too big but someone who helps make the world a better place.