MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Andres Mata started out volunteering with the Shelby County District Attorney's Office -- years later, he's now guiding the Hispanic community through the judicial process.
For the past seven years he’s worked as a Hispanic Victim's Coordinator.
"It could be any crime from a theft all the way up to a homicide, sex crimes, child abuse,” said Andres Mata, Hispanic victim’s coordinator.
Mata walks Hispanic victims through the judicial process
He’s the only bilingual victim witness coordinator with the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office and on average, serves 400 people a year.
"I come in contact with the victims. I let them know who I am, where I'm at, what do I do and how can I help them and basically what is going to happen,” said Mata.
Mata was born in Venezuela and spent 28 years of his life there.
In 2003, he moved to the United States seeking political asylum.
"I had to flee from Venezuela because I was being chased by the Venezuelan government for my political views,” said Mata.
Like most who move to the United States, Mata did what he could to make ends meet.
"I've been a server. I had to learn how to drive a forklift. I was selling cars,” said Mata.
In 2008, he started volunteering with the DA's Office.
Once the Hispanic Victim’s Coordinator position opened up, Mata knew he wanted the role.
"Being able to be there for them and just help them and offer them whatever assistance is out there is very gratifying,” said Mata.
Mata says his language skills have helped him along the way. He hopes others will also choose to serve this growing community.
“It’s going to keep growing and at some point, yeah, we’re going to have to find solutions,” said Mata.