Eradicating Poverty Through Education
Two January’s ago, my wife and I got lost going to the Kumquat Festival in Dade City, FL. It’s a shame because downtown Dade City is easy to get to if you don’t miss Meridian Avenue. The mile long detour would forever change my life.
It felt as if I had been transported to a third world country. The surroundings looked like a community that had been neglected.
I’ll never forget getting to the end of Lock Street/Calle Los Milagros and thinking that the same street has two names. I would later learn that the names are the imaginary line that divides the Latinos and African Americans living in the same are also known as Tommy Town.
We took a right to head towards downtown and the scenery completely changed by the time we passed Martin Luther King Avenue. It went from third world back to first world country in a matter of minutes.
By the time we parked and starting walking around to enjoy the festival, I felt getting angrier and angrier as I thought about the disparity that was only 1 mile apart. I kept asking myself, how can this be?.
Lord, What Do You Want Me To Do?
That was my prayer as I reflected on the day and the emotions that I felt after leaving the festival.
I would drive back to Lock Street/Calle Los Milagros several times the next week and scheduling a time where friends that lived there could give me a my wife a guided tour of of Dade City.
Some of the people that I spoke to about what I had seen concerning the disparity seemed so aloof about it as if to embody the feeling of “that’s not my problem”. I couldn’t shake the fact that I’m supposed to do something in Dade City, I just did not know what.
Teach Young People How To…
Fast forward two years and we are beginning to discover what we’re supposed to do. Even though I’m a missionary, the work that I’ll be doing in Dade City has more to do than evangelizing people with the gospel and teaching them how to follow Jesus. This new venture includes teaching young people how to start their own business, organization, or cause.
In the same way that I knew that I was called into vocational ministry, I have received the same mandate to teach young people how to break the cycle of poverty.
Creating Opportunities for the Underprivileged
Teaching certain skills doesn’t necessarily mean that the students who attend and participate in the Y.E.S. will all successfully launch their own business, organization, or cause. If it were that easy, every entrepreneurial endeavor would be a success and we all know that isn’t the case. My hope is that what they learn they can implement into life. That it broadens their capacity to think and dream.
Since the target age for Y.E.S. is 12–23 year olds, we’re working on another venture to start sowing seeds of possibilities into the young minds.
In a partnership with the UF Extensions Office in Dade City, we’ve also launched 4-H for Latino and African American youth. A organization that has been around for over 100 years, but only made available to the aforementioned youth in Dade City a few weeks ago. Not that they didn’t have access to it, but we all know that for underprivileged youth it can be difficult to participate in certain activities due to a lack of transportation, finances, or the fear of leaving the 3–5 mile radius of their impoverished surroundings.
The partnership with the UF Extensions Office and the availability of 4-H to these young people now opens up new horizons of thinking and gets them experiencing things that seemed to be only available to youth with the means to participate in them.
Beyond Doctrine, Entrepreneurship, or College
With the convergence of business and ministry, the possibilities and opportunities for young people in economically distressed areas are amplified.
Sometimes the only way out of impoverished conditions for young people of color is sports. We want to ensure that the young people who participate in 4-H Unidos/United and Y.E.S. see that they can accomplish great things while having a vibrant relationship with Jesus, possibly starting a business, organization, or cause and attend college.
Until they can have that dream for themselves, we’ll have it for them.
Help Us Eradicate Poverty Through Education
You can help us with this cause by making a donation of $25. Thanks in Advance!
Follow Us On Social Media
@yescohort on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat