Some ministers in Richmond say “ a minority teenage youth, especially a boy, is as susceptible to becoming involved in, or becoming a victim of, a violent crime as they are likely to attend college.”
The City of Richmond ranks sixth in the nation for its violent crimes and Pastors Donnell and Christine Jones of the New Direction Ministries want to change those statistics.
They have launched ‘Moving Ministry into Academia’ (M.M.I.A.), a hands-on ministry that focuses on transitioning young men and women from the streets of Richmond into Historical Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU). “We want our youth to choose education as their direction to the future,”says Pastor Christine Jones.
“I got involved in a life of drug use and partying that hindered my education. But, after I began to feel a calling into the ministry, I knew I needed to prepare myself academically to preach and teach the word of God,” said Pastor Donnell Jones.
After going away to college and having a successful pastoral career in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Alabama, Jones said he knew it was time for him “to return to Richmond and be a blessing to his hometown. “
“We can no longer just sit and watch the demise of our youth” said Jones. He said the youth are “becoming unmarketable in this very complex and highly technological society.” Pastor Donnell Jones says the youth, because of poor educations, are experiencing a widening opportunity gap. “The gap is too wide educationally, socially, and economically and it eliminates our youth from any competitive opportunities,” he said.
Both Pastors Jones say the objective of M.M.I.A is to identify individuals that have become “tired of the drugs and crime.” The organization wants to find youth “that cannot find a way out but want to transition into the academic arena.”
M.M.I.A. also plans to build partnerships with other Faith-based institutions, community-based organizations, and the Contra Costa County Juvenile System to identify individuals interested in higher education.
M.M.I.A is also working with the newly appointed director of Operation Richmond, Reverend Henry C. Washington, to develop educational strategies that will produce positive changes for Richmond’s youth.
For more information about M.M.I.A., contact Pastor Donnell R. or Christine Jones at 205.296.3459 or visit: firstname.lastname@example.org.