LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- This is a story about commitment, success, and love. It all started with an actress who wanted to give back, so Wendy Raquel Robinson started the Amazing Grace Conservatory.
"I remain committed, not only to my community but to the kids," said Robinson. "I don't have any kids but I feel like I have 6,000."
For 22 years, Robinson has devoted her time to her non-profit performing arts school, Amazing Grace Conservatory. As co-founder and creative director, she helps train and educate kids in the arts. She also mentors them, because she knows the value of making the right decisions in life.
"The arts saved my life," said Robinson. "I grew up in South Central Los Angeles and there were so many different avenues I could have gone in terms of being in a gang -- a lot of my friends were in gangs, a lot of my friends were doing drugs. They were, you know, partying. But I got introduced to dance when I was, like, 8 years old and there was no turning back, and it changed my life."
And that's what Amazing Grace Conservatory is doing for today's youth. Since it doesn't have its own theater, on May 18 and 19 at Los Angeles Southwest College, students will perform a classic musical; but a version more familiar to their own lives. It's called "Our West Side Story."
"Amazing Grace Conservatory has really been a safe haven for me," said Karrington Jackson. "It's been a place where I've been able to be freely myself, and it's where I found theater."
"Family is not always blood, and they've taught me so much, and they've loved me like their own, and I couldn't have asked for anything more from another establishment," said Kinaya Washington.
Actress Wendy Raquel Robinson introduces L.A. kids to performing arts with Amazing Grace Conservatory
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