This journey was like going to war with no armor and no weapons. But every courner I turned was a ram in a bush provided by GOD. With every accomplishment we picked up more armor and weapons. HE MADE IT WITH HONORS ! I FEEL LIKE MUFASA WHEN HE TOOK HIS SON TO HE TOP OF THE MOUNTAINS FOR THE WORLD TO SEE! I AM JUST THAT PROUD
Christian Jones turned his life around to become Mavericks High of Central Broward Class of 2016 Valedictorian
Jones plans to attend B-CU in Daytona Beach, Fla., this fall and wants to major in physiology; his mother Andrea Young is very proud of his accomplishments.
By Charles Moseley
For the past eight years Christian Jones and his family have been on a roller coaster ride. Their lives have been filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, and twists and turns. The once troubled and confused teen who lacked discipline and direction and wound up on the wrong side of the law has turned his life completely around. He went from being labeled a juvenile delinquent to becoming a role model among his classmates and a community activist in the Lauderdale Manors neighborhood where he lives.
Jones, now 19, was only 10 when his dad Emory Jones was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on his pituitary gland. What ensued over the next few years had a devastating impact on their lives, not the least of which affected a very impressionable Christian, the next to the youngest of Andrea Young’s five children. His immediate siblings include Shannon 23, Sharnices 21, Emory III 20, and Cornelious-Walter 17.
Up until 2005 Christian and his family by their own admission lived a relatively normal life. That all changed when their provider and rock of the family, Christian’s dad, got sick. That’s when things began to change for the worse within the Jones household. The family rallied behind Emory; caring for him while he underwent radiation and chemo treatment.
After his recovery a few years later, the Jones family received another devastating blow when they learned that their sole provider would no longer be there for them. In 2007 they found out that their dad had received a 15 year prison sentence. After his dad’s incarceration, Christian also lost his great-grandfather and grandfather, who played roles in his family’s lives. That’s when Christian’s life began to take a downward spiral out of control.
“That started a lot of confusion in our family. He was the heart and soul of our family. He kept us together. When anything was wrong he was the one that would fix it. After the prison sentence that’s when stuff started falling apart,” said Christian.
“He did everything for us. He wrapped up all the Christmas gifts. On Easter they got Easter baskets. So when he left, everything was gone,” said Young.
Over the next couple of years Christian began hanging out with “the wrong crowd,” and soon after followed in the foot-steps of his older brother, Emory III, who began getting in trouble with the law.
Christian started doing the same things his buddies were doing – mostly burglarizing homes. He first ran afoul of the law after going to another school to fight a boy who had allegedly hit his female cousin. This led to his first arrest as a young teen and introduced him into the criminal justice system.
A string of burglary convictions led to several stints in the local juvenile detention center and facing jail time as an adult. Had it not been for one turn of events that might have been the end of story for Christian.
“One day I went to court and my little brother Cornelious came – the one with Down Syndrome. He really didn’t know what jail was and that I couldn’t come home. One of the officers allowed him to speak with his mom and brother before returning to his cell. When it was time to go, I gave my little brother a hug and he didn’t want to let me go. That is when I realized that he needed me.”
Christian was kicked out of Northeast High because of his continued run-ins with the law, leaving his mother in search of an alternative means for his education. That’s when she discovered Mavericks High of Central Broward (MHSCB), an alternative charter school located not far from her Lauderdale Manors neighborhood. What happened the next four years was an amazing chain of events brought on by a group of people who took the time, energy, and commitment to help change a young man’s life forever.
Because his mother refused to give up on her son, others took notice of this troubled young man and his life began to go in another direction. Young has stood by her son through all his highs and lows. Some but not all of the individuals who impacted Chris-tian in a substantial way who shared their thoughts on Christian.
MHSCB Principal Nadine Lablanc: “During a parent-teacher conference we had a break-through moment with him. We created an action plan which included monitoring assistance with accountability, monitored him academically and emotionally as well. Three and a half years later he became our valedictorian with a 3.5 GPA, heading to Bethune- Cookman University (B-CC).”
Dione Stone, former English teacher /guidance counselor MHSCB, met Christian during an Exploration Friday session at the school. He was a part of the mentorship group that she assisted. One part of the exercise involved sharing personal information about each other in order to bond with students. She shared that she had been subjected to childhood abuse.
“What struck me with Christian was that he was so angry at the abuse that I went through as a child. He was immediately so protective of me. And he couldn’t believe that someone could do that to a child. Immediately we just bonded.”
Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness met Christian during a community house painting project.
“Chris Jones is a wonderful young man but oftentimes young people have not learned how to conduct themselves. And so they make mistakes. They take chances and risks at times and get into situations that if one was more mature and had greater experience about life they would not. So it is critical that we offer love, counsel, guidance, and support to our young people.”
Jorg Hruschka, chief service officer, City of Fort Lauderdale under City Manager’s Neighbor Support Division: “I had the pleasure of working with Andrea Young and her son Christian in the Show Up, Step Up, Stand Out, Youth Leader-
“I’m looking at him as someone that is going to make a long term impact. I used Christian as an example of the positive outcome in life. I compared him to me throwing a stone into a pond and now I can see over the last year the ripple effect that that stone created and that stone is Christian Jones. That ripple now is like he’s going in a different way than the path that he had chosen as a youth.
“Now he’s going a different way but it’s not only going to impact him it’s going to impact his family. He’s impacted his family, He’s impacted how the school is going to outreach to other kids in school and it empowered me really by watching him do what he did. He empowered me and gave me a stronger belief that we are on the right course.”
Jay Forte, a certified family, teen and career coach, author and motivational speaker, The Greatness Zone LLC: “From that point he became engaged in the work and started to plan a most amazing community service event – the Peace March through his neighborhood. He developed the idea, engaged his friends, got city officials involved and delivered an event that is still talked about.”
If you or your organization would like to support Christian Jones please go to-The Go Fund me account is https://www.gofundme.com/2ae5w7w.