Not many people grow up knowing exactly what they want to do when they get older.
That was not a problem for 18-year-old Alan Alexander. He's wanted to be a chef since he was just 9 years old, when his grandmother taught him how to chop vegetables.
"She would put me in a little corner, she'd give me a cutting board and a little knife and then I would just start cutting away," Alexander said.
Cooking with his family was a start, but he needed real experience to be considered by his dream school.
Grow Detroit's Young Talent gave him just the boost he needed by connecting him with the 1917 American Bistro on Livernois for six-week internship.
Alexander is one of more than 2,000 young people to get an internship through City Connect Detroit, a key player in a massive community effort.
Each intern gets $1,500, which covers the wages of one youth for a six-week experience.
Chef Donald Studvent, owner of 1917 American Bistro, said he was happy to give Alan a shot at learning about the restaurant business.
"Sometimes as we walk through life, a lot of people forget to give back and help others," Studvent said.
Taking the next step, the internship allowed Alexander to get his foot in the kitchen door, but he needed six months of experience to apply to his dream school, the Culinary Institute of America in New York.
Then, at the close of Alexander's internship, Chef Studvent hired him on.
His months of experience at the restaurant paid off when he was accepted at the Culinary Institute of America.
"When he told me he got accepted to the CIA, I had to take a minute and I went out to the back- because my eyes got water," Studvent said.
His mother, Marilyn Alexander, said the community effort made it all possible. "I couldn't thank those foundations enough," she said.
For Alexander, college is just a first step."After college I would like to explore the world and go to different countries and go to different places and learn the culinary techniques," he said.
Alexander said he would also like to open his own restaurant someday, probably in New York.For more information on the program, visit Grow Detroit's Young Talent.