Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC)
The Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC) is a community center in the heart of Mexicantown, Detroit "[whose] mission is to make a difference by creating life-changing opportunities for youth and their families." In conjunction with DHDC and other stakeholders, Frog Force helped the DHDC create a new community build site named the Robotics & Engineering Center of Detroit, or REC’D. Frog Force designed the layout for the REC'D machine shop, sourced equipment, helped with construction of the center and trained mentors. FRC Team 5577, Kinematic Wolves and FRC Team 5756, R.E.C’in Crew were the very first FRC teams housed at the REC’D. Our students and mentors spent 30-40 man-hours each week in Detroit the first season, mentoring the REC’D teams throughout the build process as well as providing support at their events. We are thrilled that both of the DHDC teams were recipients of the esteemed Rookie Inspiration Award through the course of the 2015 FRC competition season. In addition, we were able to play alongside FRC 5756 as alliance partners in the finals of the Livonia FRC District event!
Creating self-sustaining programs is our goal. Our vision with DHDC was not to simply mentor a few teams, but to show them how to create a resilient infrastructure. In just 2 years, the REC’D has expanded to 10 FRC teams, and added FTC, FLL, and FLL Jr. to their ranks. Their program is now a complete and sustainable cycle, with REC’D veterans assisting and forming rookie teams, and the first generation of FTC alumni now joining FRC teams. With the addition of the Progression of FIRST Programs, students at all levels now have access to FIRST robotics. This pipeline leads to college scholarships and internships from companies like GM. Frog Force’s involvement with the DHDC isn't just about building teams, but also building a sustainable future in Detroit.
Frog Force remains invested in the success of the FIRST teams at REC’D. In 2014, we ran an FRC rookie workshop at REC’D, providing the curriculum, equipment, and mentors which enabled their teams to walk away with a rolling chassis on day 1 of build season. Last year, we led the workshop in tandem with REC’D teams. Because of our guidance, REC’D teams ran the rookie workshop solo this year. It is one of our proudest achievements.
As the REC’D teams begin to move beyond robots, we have adapted our mentoring. Last Spring, we co-hosted a FTC competition with FRC 5577, Kinematic Wolves providing expertise in event planning and key volunteers so they will have the confidence to host future events in their neighborhood. With the beginning of the 2017 season, Frog Force provided specific mentoring and guidance to help several REC’D teams prepare their Chairman’s Award submission.
Frog Force doesn't just host events - we develop programs! This year Frog Force provided a mentor training workshop for the DHDC FLL and FTC rookie coaches. We also held our second annual FTC Kickoff Event with strategy and judging workshops, a chassis build and control system set up. These workshops are key components of implementing a progression of programs to ensure sustainability of FIRST in Detroit.