At 18, Jesus was uncertain about his future. As a recent high school graduate, he was faced with outward pressure from his parents to succeed and so he joined the workforce and enrolled in a community college. He soon realized the severity of financial responsibility and how little minimum wage helped offset his basic needs. Soon, Jesus’s grades began to slip and his mental health quickly followed. Jesus found himself in a downward spiral, not sure where to turn next.
Yet this didn’t deter him from attending his first interview with DHF Executive Director and founder Brandon Steppe. Jesus improvised the entire interview, however, his passion shone through. DHF offered Jesus an opportunity to create a documentary for the organization. Jesus volunteered his time to create his first video for a non-profit.
While in class, Jesus’s friend David informed him about an organization that works with local youth to teach them music and multimedia production. Jesus was intrigued but there was one problem, he didn’t possess any multimedia production skills.
What started as a volunteer opportunity quickly led to paying work, as Jesus and David came together to start producing videos for corporations throughout San Diego. This was the start of DHF’s Business Production program, or as we like to call it, BizPod! BizPod officially launched in 2018 composed of 4 students: Jesus, David, Natalie, and Ezariah. During this time Jesus was a full-time college student, interning for The David’s Harp Foundation, and working nights part-time. Two months later BizPod students were granted the opportunity to shoot a corporate video for a company in Sacramento, CA. This opportunity resonated with Jesus deeply and he couldn’t wait to show his plane ticket to his parents.
Jesus and the others continued to flourish in the program and hone their craft. In 2019, after receiving a steady flow of income, DHF connected Jesus to a business mentor, John Konnecki, who taught him how to save and budget his earnings. During that time BizPod hired a Program Manager, Evan Yamada, who brought years of extensive experience creating high-quality videos for companies such as GoDaddy, NFL, and his own production company Briefcase Studios.
In February of 2020, Jesus and David launched their business, and then the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Jesus’s parents lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, yet Jesus was able to support their household financially by creating videos for local churches in San Diego. In 2021, Jesus accepted a position as a BizPod instructor and began employing students within the program to work project-base for his own company, Warehouse Media. Today, Jesus has successfully navigated his first year as a business owner and continues to build mentoring relationships with system-impacted youth in his community. Although unknown, he is certain his future is full of possibility.