You could drive past 1627 West Lafayette a hundred times and never notice the sign for Young Detroit Builders.
Inside, a University of Michigan educated, self-described "white kid from the 'burbs" named Ryan Doyle talks to a group of African-American 18 to 24 year olds from the city. Although he's only 25 himself, it's clear he's got their respect.
"I'm a very honest, very transparent guy. So, the first day I walked in, I said listen, let's just get all the stuff out of the way. I'm this guy. I'm from the 'burbs. This is my background. You guys are like this from this place, and we're very different. That aside, let's talk about life. Let's get into something real, and I think they appreciate the honesty," said Doyle.
What they're doing at Young Detroit Builders is rebuilding city -- literally learning skilled trades and getting their GEDs so they can build themselves a future.
"We learn how to paint, prime, (and) drywall. We (haven't) been on … construction sites yet, but we're going to do that pretty soon," said Kendall Kelly.
"I want to go to college and further my education in construction," said Demetrius Tucker. "Later, I want to have my own business."
Just up the street in southwest Detroit there is a new youth hostel. Doyle's Life to Give Foundation provided funding to the young woman opening it.
"Fantastic young woman, I think she's 24, a lot of energy, and she wants to be a part of the growth here, as well. So, it's been an honor to work with her," Doyle told FOX 2.
From Corktown to Midtown, Doyle says Detroit can come back if its best asset, young people who were born there, want it to come back.
"We took out a couple of the guys to the hostel, and one told me two days later he wanted to start his own," Doyle said.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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