Impact in Perspective: A Nativity Parent
My Nativity Story
Good Morning! I am Parlee Jones. My son is Born. He is a member of the Campion Class and will be graduating this year.
It takes a village to raise a child. And Nativity is like a Village.
I came upon the village of Nativity when Born was in the 3rd grade. I spoke to Father Smith periodically during the next two years so he would remember me when it came time to fill out an application for Born. He did remember me. Born made it through the cut with 14 other young men. And in 22 days, he will have completed his four years of a priceless experience and a solid foundation on which to build.
Being familiar with the school to prison pipeline that many young males of color fall into during their early school years, I could not have hoped for a better education for my son. In elementary school, it seems he was always tempted to hang out with the boys that got into trouble. I tried to let him know that that type of behavior could not happen if he lived at my house. Luckily I was able to pull him out of the line of fire with his acceptance to Nativity. Such a critical point in a young man's life it could have went either way if we did not have this opportunity. Unfortunately, there are only 15 spaces at Nativity and as grateful as I am for my one, I am sad for the numerous young men, that didn't get the chance.
With a strong foundation, you can build just about anything. A house, a business, an educational career, a life. A community. A village. For the past four years, it has been my pleasure to watch the boys in Born's class grow to become the young men they are today. Out of the 15 that started, maybe one or two more added with the coming and going to try and maintain the 15 there are going to be 10 young men graduating. 10 smart, intelligent, kind, handsome young men. Good friends. Decent kids. Great families. Awesome moms! As I am writing this, I am reflecting on how much these 9 young men have grown. When I see how little the 5th graders are this year, I have to say, I don't remember these guys being that small, but, it could be mama vision. I do remember these young men going through self-discovery. Learning responsibility. Growing in spirit. And developing a love of learning, dedication. I cannot tell you how I smile when I hear my son on the phone talking to one of his friends about the latest "Warrior" book that is out. What a gift. They have all grown so much. And they are about to go their separate ways. Strong and determined. Full of strength and character. Having provided service and knowing how blessed they are. Knowing that it's okay to reach out and help a man in need. Learning that it is their duty. Every now and then when we go down Piedmont Street, Born will say "Hey, mom, can you see the pictures that we did over on that house". Unfortunately, still abandoned and boarded up. And, yes, the pictures are there, and we do see them.
The Arts, Renaissance, as it is called in the Village of Nativity. I LOVE IT!!! The plays, the art, the poetry. How many 11, 12, 13 year old boyss do you know that are willing to be at ease with acting in front of such a large audience. Spring and Winter Arts Nights are two of my favorites. Public speaking at events. $500 a plate dinners! And though I realize there is a monetary amount to all of these things ..... it truly is PRICELESS!!!
During the four years here, Born has never one time complained about the long school day. He has complained about lunches. That is the only thing he has truly complained about. Have you ever thought about maybe writing a grant for something good to eat each day. Thank goodness they have that one hot lunch day that the parents get to provide for the school. It seems like the Staff enjoys that special lunch as much as the kids! I truly enjoyed coming to serve the hot lunch at the school. And I hope you will continue to call me to join you!
Members of the Nativity Village.
A village that includes many dedicated teachers (fellows), administrators, parents, siblings and supporters ~ past and present.
The Fellows are incredible! How exciting for our kids to get the fruits of ambition and newness and that brand new "I'm going to change lives" attitude, with meaning behind it. These kids are not burnt out. They can hang and run and relate and talk to our boys. They inspire them. I have to say that I was glad to have Mr. Thiamiah and I know there is another young man of color coming on staff next year. It is important for children of color to see adults of color in various professions. The saddest part about the fellows is that they leave us. But they are also stronger, experienced, dedicated. I know it's a good thing, but it's still a little sad.
Administrators. Hmmm. How else do we keep the place running. The dedication of this team is astounding.
Parents and Siblings. It's like a family. Making sure our children get home safely. Welcoming each other into our homes. Sharing our sons.
Supporters. The Board. Believing in the mission and our boys, our sons and MAKING IT HAPPEN!!!
My nativity experience has been a honor, a blessing.
Nativity is a lot like where I work. Abby's House. A village, a community. Our favorite saying at Abby's is, "once an Abby's girl, always an Abby's Girl". And I think it is true to say "Once a Nativity Man, always a Nativity man" and that makes me always a Nativity mom. And that makes you Nativity Village members also! We also share that special relationship with Holy Cross, who have been actively involved with Abby's House since our foundation in 1976.
Thank you for listening! Peace!!