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Season of Wishes: D&J Youth Group doing good things for area youth

 

NATCHEZ — The D&J Youth Group had a special moment Sunday night at St. Mary Basilica.

Every year, Joe and Dianne Good take a few children to see the Alcorn State University Christmas Choir. This year, the students were able to see two of their former group mates in the Alcorn choir.

Joe Good said the moment was also big for him and his wife.

“When they were small, we took them to St. Mary to watch the choir,” Joe Good said. “Now to see them in the choir singing, it gives us a good feeling. We are doing something right somewhere.”

Good and his wife founded the nonprofit several years ago to help keep area children off the streets and in school.

The Goods operate the D&J Youth Choir, which Joe Good said is approximately 30-people strong right now.

The duo also operates a resource research computer center. Joe Good said it is tough to estimate the number of children who use the resource center, since some come and go.

The performing arts center and resource center are on Claiborne Street. The centers are within two adjacent shotgun houses that were donated by the Historic Natchez Foundation.

On Mondays and Tuesdays, Alpha Kappa Alpha members tutor children at the center. Wednesdays are for choir practice.

Joe Good said on Thursdays they open the center for children who need one-on-one attention in a particular subject. On Fridays they are closed, though they do sometimes have activities on the weekend.

“These kids just amaze me,” Joe Good said. “They don’t smoke, or drink or go to the bars. I’ll put some food on the grill for them, and they will just sit and talk with each other.

“And that’s a good thing. They are not out in the street doing what some kids do.”

Joe Good said the center’s biggest need is new computers. The center has nine computers, which the children — even the six college students — use to do their homework and projects.

The Alpha Kappa Alpha members recently donated three new computers, but Joe Good said that still leaves approximately six that are old and starting to cost money to keep operational.

“They are really slow and do not work right,” Joe Good said. “Technology has just moved up. The last time we had someone come in to fix them, he said instead of working on them, we probably need to replace them.”

The computer resource center gives the children access to computers in their neighborhood, Joe Good said.

Joe Good said he could not accept used computers and he also would prefer people donate computers rather than cash.

“I would rather them pay for it themselves rather than hand me the money,” Joe Good said. “That way you know where your money went.”

If interested in donating a computer or for information about the group, contact Joe Good at 601-597-2815 or Dianne Good at 601-597-4041.

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