EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) – An East Harlem man says he is using his own troubled past to motivate and help young people in the Hispanic community.

Julio Medina grew up in the Bronx. His mom came to New York City from Puerto Rico to chase the American Dream. Medina said his childhood was filled with challenges, and he’s now using those tough life lessons to give back to his community in East Harlem.

Medina founded the Exodus Transitional Community in 1999 and has helped thousands of people find second chances in reentry programs.

Medina’s painful past earned him street credibility and respect where he can now give back. He runs a production company and TV studio that employs hundreds of people. He has also opened a trauma, mental health and wellness treatment center.

Medina said music can be transformative. He supports new music that can teach young Latinos important lessons in life.

Medina wanted to create a safe place for young people, especially Hispanic youth, to rebuild their lives. He said the secret to its success is there’s no judgment in his program. Medina hopes to have a facility like this in every borough.

If you want more information about Exodus Transitional Community and its programs, visit its website.