Precious Jones

It’s still a beautiful day in the neighborhood

When I began working at City Gospel Mission, I always assumed my greatest point of connection with the at-risk youth we serve would be that I share their experience of growing up in poverty. Never in a million years would I have imagined that God would use my personal tragedy of losing my father at the age of 16 to drug and alcohol abuse to connect with youth I spend time with regularly at a Whiz Kids tutoring and mentoring site in Roselawn, but He did!

On this particular day, I had the blessing of tutoring two boys because their tutors were out due to sickness. I took delight in sitting with these two as they read the story of Martin Luther King, Jr. to me. The boys, in 3rd and 5th grade, asked questions about segregation, integration, and those who opposed the nonviolent movement. As we arrived at the point in the story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, one of the boys expressed to me that his father was no longer alive, just like Martin. In shock, I said, “Oh, my dad is not alive either …” Then in the next moment, the other child also stated that his father was no longer alive. My heart broke hearing this news from kids so young. Upon hearing that my father was also no longer living, both boys paused and looked at me. And as we all looked at one another it was as if we all silently said:

“Thank goodness, I’m not alone.”

The boys asked me a few questions about my dad and how old I was when he died. We finished up the book and played a few games afterward.

As I looked around that day I saw tutors of varying ethnicities and life experiences and in my heart I knew that although these youth have myriad challenges – including many growing up in single-parent households, particularly, households without fathers – it is still a beautiful day in the neighborhood. It is beautiful to see a community of people give their time to serve those who have been marginalized in society. On that day, the transformation happened in my heart, for I saw God use my tragedy to help these two young boys triumph. They both left with a new air of confidence as if to say:

“If she made it, then maybe I can too.”

Before we left, one of the boys drew a picture of me (above), noting that I had “fancy hair” as he called it. What a beautiful image he drew. When I gaze upon this image, I am reminded of the honor it is to partner with communities all around Cincinnati, many economically depressed like Roselawn, and be just one of the many extensions of God’s love to kids in need, regardless of the number of parents in the home.

Precious Jones is a Youth Mentoring Coach and Area Director at City Gospel Mission. She can be reached at pjones@citygospelmission.org.

6 Responses to “It’s still a beautiful day in the neighborhood”

  1. DeLynn

    What a wonderful story – gives me chills! I love how God placed you with those two boys on that day, doing that activity, for the very purpose of sharing your loss and God’s hope for a future. I’m so glad you are on staff at CGM – your passion for the youth you serve is very evident. Thanks serving – and for sharing this beautiful story!

    Reply
  2. Hannah

    Wow. Sometimes the silent moments are the most powerful. It’s so cool to see how God used your story to help and encourage those two boys. You’re awesome, Precious! I’m glad He brought you to CGM!

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  3. Brian Taylor

    Thanks for sharing this. What a picture of hope for these young men, continue to be a light in this city!

    Reply
  4. Chavonne Taylor

    What a great story! It’s amazing what one can get out of serving!

    Reply
  5. Mari

    Whow! I remember this day. You seem to have connected with these young boys because I heard them ask for you the next time you came to the tutoring site. They truly enjoyed their time with you.
    Thanks for all you do to support the Roselawn site? You are right. It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

    Reply
  6. Delores

    Th at was wonderful Precious. Such a wonderful story. You do make a difference working with children. You are truly a blessing. Thanks for all you do.

    Reply

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