Julia NagyThe Natchez Democrat — Some children from the D&J Youth Group pose in front of their newly renovated computer center Saturday afternoon on Claiborne Street.

Season of Wishes: D&J youth need labor, new van, money donations

Published 12:01am Monday, December 10, 2012

Editor’s note: The original version of this story was published incorrect information. The van donated to the group was donated by the Natchez Housing Authority. We regret the original error and are happy to set the record straight.

NATCHEZ — Thirteen-year-old DeMarcus Price doesn’t hesitate to state his loyalties to a group in the Woodlawn area.

But that group is more than just friends he can hang out with on afternoons or weekends. It’s the D&J Youth Group, the brainchild of Joe and Diane Good.

“It’s always interesting,” Price said. “We go on lots of trips, and I think it is the best group in town.”

D&J was started a few years ago as an effort to expose children in Natchez to travel and culture they might not otherwise get a chance to see. Joe Good said the group takes small regional day trips to events in Baton Rouge, Jackson or Monroe, but has in the past traveled to San Antonio, Atlanta, Pigeon Forge, Tenn., Washington, D.C., and even the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

The most recent trip the group took was to see the ballet.

“A lot of these kids, if it wasn’t for D&J, they would not be exposed to the cultural things that we do,” said Valeria Johnson, who volunteers with the group. “We are exposing them to history and helping form them as educated people.”

And as part of the mission to form the children who participate in the group, D&J has recently expanded its focus to include an after-school computer and tutoring center.

That expansion began because area children were going to the Goods’ house to use their Internet access after school. After the Historic Natchez Foundation donated a couple of old shotgun houses on Claiborne Street to the group, the Goods decided it was the perfect location to open a computer and tutoring center.

Joe admitted that when he first saw the condition of the houses he wasn’t quite sure it was going to work. The buildings were structurally sound, but the years had taken their toll on the floors and exteriors.

Now, one of the houses has been restored and electrical work is expected to start this week.

After that, Joe said, the group already has several new computers that will be moved in as soon as a security system can be installed.

Then, construction and repairs will begin on the second structure.

“My wife, she told me she had a vision for these houses, and she made a believer out of me,” Joe said.

When the project is complete, the center will be open daily to allow the children to use its resources to help with their schoolwork.

Even before the computer center is installed, Diane said the new D&J house has become popular with the children in the group.

“The children will come up here on Saturday and just want to hang out at the house,” she said.

The next need the group will have to tackle is for a second van. While the Natchez Housing Authority donated one van to D&J last year, the group has grown and they need the ability to transport more children, Joe said.

“On the last trip we took, I hate it but we weren’t able to take everybody because we don’t all fit in the van,” he said.

D&J operates on donations, Joe said, and anyone who wants to help out with labor or money should contact the Goods at 601-442-4169 or 601-597-2815.

And while money is always appreciated, Diane said those who give don’t have to feel limited to cash or check.

“We’re not going to turn down anything,” she said.

The computer resource center will have an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 21.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t believe it hasn’t been broken into, and the computers stolen. It’s just a matter of time.

  • Anonymous

    they should do some sort of fundraiser

  • Anonymous

    I thank the Lord for people like the Goods who care for others like they do.

  • Khakirat

    This is well and fine but I feel there is too much here in Natchez that needs fixed and it involves old retired people and plenty local projects than going else where!! They need to do things as fund raisers to earn their trips as we did by selling candy, magazines, car washes , cleaning people houses, instead of giving money to them for this isn’t the way for they will never learn principals!! If they want a van , get out there and work for it for giving they want learn anything for that what wrong now with the economy now!! It is amazing that their computers aren’t stole as they are everywhere in Adams County for we need to find out what they doing for the public schools I bet would like to know huh”??!!

  • LETGOD

    The Good’s last name couldn’t be better! They carry it well, and it shows. They are always reaching out to children, by clothing, feeding, educating, and taking them to places beyond their imagination, including church! They have fund raisers during the summer for the children who can’t afford to pay in full with cash to go. Their group has grown with such wonderful kids, and that is why they are in need of another van. Let’s all pray and hope that no one will break in and take away from the youth. Blessings rain in where Blessings pour out! It is absoulutely free of charge for all youth to join, they are well taking care of and sometimes to the Goods expense, and if your a fan of McDonald’s that group parades in there at least 2-3 times a month! If you have small children you should let them venture with the group, you will be suprised ☺☺☺☺☺☺

  • Anonymous

    Khaki —

    The group does have several fundraisers a year. I believe they sell chicken dinners (and maybe candy). The Goods stress that the kids learn to work for the opportunities the group gives them. The children in the group are some of the most well-mannered hard working kids I’ve met.

    The trips have been occurring for years, solely from their fundraisers. When they began to expand by renovating the houses mentioned in the story and opening a computer lab, a number of groups and individuals chose to make donations. I don’t recall that the Goods or the children ever ASKED for help. Some folks simply WANTED to help.

    Here’s a previous story on their efforts: http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/2012/06/07/youth-group-straps-in-for-southern-road-trip/

    This story is part of a series of stories we’ve been publishing this holiday season called Season of Wishes. It’s no different than the other non-profit groups highlighted, like the Guardian Shelter, Council on Aging and Stewpot. We publish the stories so those who want to give can learn about the organizations, but if you don’t won’t to give, you don’t have to. :)

    Thanks

    Julie Cooper

    managing editor

  • Khakirat

    Your comment is well taken but I’m only stressing that its too much giving and taken this day and time that these kids need to work to know what a dollar is and to have themselves feeling good about themselves !! This time of the year people are ripped off by so many charities !! Is this orginization registered with the sec. of the state of Ms.?? Hope the kids the very best!!

  • Anonymous

    Khaki —

    Yes, they are registered with the Secretary of State’s Office. A complete list of registered non-profits can be found here: http://www.sos.ms.gov/links/sec_char/2012%20Charity%20Report.pdf

    Thanks
    Julie

  • Connie Matthews

    I think you should have did your homework about this group before you spoke on this article.My parents did not ask for anything but at the same time,let it be known that donations are accepted.Fundraisers are done all the time.These kids work hard and deserve to go on these trips.Also taking the time to do what my parents do mean a whole lot more than money.These memories will last forever in these kids hearts.Also,the kids work hard in school to earn good grades to be able to participate in any type of trip.Great job dad&mom,keep up the good work.Natchez need more role models .Keep the negative comments to yourself,we don’t need any.Be blessed!

  • Connie Matthews

    natcheznative,why are you claiming this?Just be happy that they have computers for the kids.”What God has for you it is for you”!Stay positive.

  • Connie Matthews

    Fundraisers are done all the time.Volunteers are appreciated,just to let you know.

  • Khakirat

    Julie, being your so efficent why don’t you investigate why the over million dollars in county fines aren’t taken care of by the BOS and give us the general public a front page of facts for I bet you would make a hit!!! Merry Christmas!!!

  • Anonymous

    Vote to tax me to oblivion and then ask for donations. Sorry, elections have consequences. Best of luck in your endeavors.

  • Anonymous

    I JUST LOVE IT WHEN A “LADY” STANDS UP AGAINST DICTATORS/REPUBLICANS. THAT’S THE REASON THE PRESIDENT RECEIVED THE MAJORITY OF THERE VOTE. LADIES BELIEVE IN DOING THINGS THE RIGHT WAY. THEY DON’T BELIEVE IN CORRUPTION. IN 2016 WE WILL SEE ANOTHER GREAT CHANGE IN AMERICA WHEN HILARY CLINTON TAKES OVER. THOSE DICTATORS/REPUBLICANS ARE FADING INTO THE DARK, THEY ARE MELTING AWAY FASTER THAN GLOBAL WARMING. THEY ARE FIGHTING TOOTH OVER NAILS TRYING TO HANG ON, BUT THERE’S NOTHING TO HANG ON TO.IN A WAY, I REALLY FEEL SORRY FOR THEM.