stories and photo by Charlesetta Thompson

Malcolm Townsend, Tevin Byrd, Adonis Mitchell and Dell Luckett of J.O.Y. House.

Anthony Drane, a young parent and educator is busy trying to make a difference in the lives of young people. Drane has begun a parents’ association on the north side of Milwaukee. It is his dream that the association becomes citywide. One of its purposes is to increase parental involvement in their child(ren’s) education; both at home and at school. Drane feels that parents should vote when it is time to select school board members and that the Superintendent of Schools, the Teachers’ Union and the schools should all be held accountable.

Drane is involved in providing tutor training for tutors at the educational institution where he is employed. He plans to conduct workshops to give parents the tools to assist their children with homework. The annual membership fee is $12. Meetings are held monthly. For information call 414-828-7246.

Pastor Hill, of the Gathering of our Children Ministries, held her 20th annual back-to-school rally on Saturday, September 2 in the 3300 block of N. Second Street. Book-bags, school supplies and nutritious snacks were the highlights of the event. Pastor Hill prayed for the children and wished them all a successful school year. Hill does most of this on her own, with a few donations from neighbors, relatives and friends. Her ministry is also very supportive of her community efforts. This year’s celebration was dedicated to the memory of Ms. Ida Weldon, a next door neighbor who assisted with the event until she passed away. Keep up the good work!

Christ Presbyterian Church’s Black Male Youth Empowerment Program has plans to fill many youth with JOY.

On Friday, August 25, 2006 a ground-breaking ceremony was held for the J.O.Y. Center (Just Outstanding Youth) at 1910 W. Walnut Street. This faith-based ministry began in 2001, with four clear, measurable goals for boys.

The boys must: Graduate from high school with a plan for the future Avoid early parenting and paternity cases Avoid involvement in the criminal justice system Gain the life skills and spiritual values to make informed choices. Herman Orr, Program Director and Jerry Johnson, President, are very proud of one of the new components of the program that is currently being implemented. This learn-by-doing program will focus on home maintenance and repairs. Future plans are in the making to teach the young men how to repair small engines. There will be a build-out above the garage that will function as a computer lab, etc. It will be called “The Upper Room.” Hats off to Mr. Orr and all of the men of Christ Church for their investment in our future!

Rev. Michael W. Miller, Sr., Pastor
Herman Orr, Program Director
Jerry Johnson, President
Youth Officers:
Bryant Rhodes, President – Riverside
University High School, Senior
Andre Love, Vice President – Milwaukee
High School of the Arts, Junior
Malcolm Townsend, Secretary – Sarah
Scott Middle School, Student
Smokey, Official Mascot (Mr. Orr’s dog)

For additional information, or to make donations and to find out about the future grand opening, contact Christ Church: 414-933-4887.

Riverwest Currents online edition – October, 2006