The Viewfinder: One local man hopes to help children with the Aftershocks

Published 11:03 pm Monday, June 4, 2018


NATCHEZ — Javarrea Jones is creating the opportunities Jones said he wished he had as a child growing up in River Oaks and Holiday Apartments.

Jones recently pitched a free summer enrichment program, sponsored by After Shock, to the Natchez Mayor and Board of Alderman.

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After presenting his plans for the program before the board, he eventually received approval to host the summer camp at North Natchez Park and occasionally at the new YMCA aquatics center for special “swim days.”

“I grew up rough,” he said, adding he recalls days his family didn’t know if their furniture would be repossessed or if the electricity would be disconnected.

Jones said he believes the average family does not have the money to pay fees associated with YMCA or other programs.

Jones has partnered with local business such as Miss-Lou Youth Sports and Activities, Miss Lou Heritage Group and Tours, Heritage School of Cooking, Bluff City Post and the YMCA to create a free summer program for local children.

The program will take place from June 11-22, and July 2-13 (excluding July 4). The program will run from 8 a.m. until noon.

“You have to show them something different,” Jones said. “You go into it with the mentality, ‘I’m going to teach you love. I’m going to show you something different.’”

He said the children in this area just need something to do, and North Natchez Park is an area children are already flocking to on their own.

“We wanted to make it free; we want to make it fun,” Jones said. “I’m not coming into this thing with money; I’m coming into it with vision,” Jones said.

Every day has a new theme, “Make it Monday,” “Talent Tuesday,” “Work Wednesday,” “Cool Down Thursday” and “Fun Friday.”

The camp offers a wide variety of actives, including board games, pool days, reading and writing sessions.

“I wish I had it,” Jones said. “I grew up rough. I grew up hard. I did. I’ll pull them to the side and tell them, I’ve been where you’re headed.”

While going to school Jones worked two jobs and sometimes slept in his truck between shifts.

“Now I’m a senior at Alcorn State University studying criminal justice and will be graduating in December,” Jones said. “In the time of crisis, it’s not the initial shock that defines you. It’s what you do with the aftershock.”

For more details about the free summer enrichment program or to register, call 601-300-3503.