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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Gunshots used to sound off incessantly, firing while Javier Mondragon's family gathered around the bonfire to spend time together.
Mondragon says, "I grew up like this," referring to his childhood home in Mexico and his current in the Mount Vernon Park neighborhood of Fort Wayne.
Mondragon asked his wife, Annette, if she wanted to move at the beginning of their now 12-year tenure living in the neighborhood.
Instead of moving, Mondragon and his wife founded the nonprofit, "Bridge of Grace" in 2011, alongside their church, "Many Nations."
Bridge of Grace provides after school programs for the local Mount Vernon Park youth, giving them a constructive outlet to grow academically, socially, physically, and spiritually.
Mondragon flipped a once barren field into a colorful playground directly across the street from the joint church-organization facility.
The elementary students are paired with volunteer tutors to help them with homework, sing with them in the chapel, or even play in the renovated gym.
Volunteer Daniela Marciliano says, "Kids are a really big part of our journey because they're going to be the next generation."
If you'd like more information on Bridge of Grace ministries and programs, click here.