MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It’s easy to see a problem and do nothing. For our February Mid-South Hero, it was easier to start a program to fix a city-wide problem and much harder to do absolutely nothing.
When Robin Dixon moved to the Bluff City, his first impression wasn’t good.
“When I first came to Memphis, my house had gotten broken in, car got stolen four times, and when the police ended up catching the subject it was a teenager,” he said.
Dixon would later find out the suspects in most of those cases were only teenagers. He knew it was time to stop complaining and start offering a different path for Memphis youth.
“I wanted to offer valuable solutions,” said Dixon. “I wanted to know how can I help? How can I detour these kids to be on a better path than the path they are currently on.”
In 2017, Dixon established the non-profit group Developing Noblemen Academy. DNA offers four programs, including character building, professional development, financial literacy and health and wellness.
During our visit to DNA, these young men were working on vision boards. Dixon says the boards are a way to bring a more concrete feeling to their dreams and aspirations.
“I want them to have their mind made up on what degree, what career they’re going to pursue,” he said. “I want them to be better prepared, better equipped with the necessary tools to be successful. I want them to feel empowered. I want them to also come back to the program and bring up another young lad, volunteer their time.”
Dixon says he couldn’t do all of this life-changing work alone. So along with the program he relies on mentors, like longtime friend and Shelby County Schools Principal Robert Davis.
“Exposing these young men to that right now will actually give them not just the sense of I can do this too but actually help them see it’s a lot of positivity with the black community and in the city of Memphis," said Davis.
High school freshman Noah has been in the program for a year. He says before getting involved with DNA he wasn’t thinking about the future, but now he is.
“They’re guiding you,” said Noah. “Giving you the steps and the keys and the tools to keep going.”
Dixon’s unwavering faith in God and the young men of Memphis are why he’s this month’s Mid-South Hero.
If you know someone worthy of the title, nominate them here.