By MC Mobley
Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jimmy’s story is the definition of ‘Home Grown’. However, it didn’t start out on a bed of roses. You would never know that The Lippman Youth Shelter was a part of this confident, caring, energetic, people person, that greets you with the warmest smile and charisma of today.
Jimmy experienced abuse as a youth growing up in South Florida. He spent time at the Youth Center being protected and counseled from six years of age until age 11. He was taken in by his uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Smith, who cared for him and helped him battle through adversity.
He formed a new love for life and this labor of love by his family afforded him the opportunities to grow and mature while being educated at Broward County’s Everglades Middle School and finish up as a proud graduate of the historical Dillard High School.
“Jimmy has always been someone that you will remember meeting,” says Dillard High School’s Basketball Coach, Darryl Burrows.
Coach Burrows continued, “Even as a teenager, Jimmy was someone that you would not forget but, never in a bad way. He was always passionate about the things that were important to him and he would stand firm on his desires to be a help mate for his peers and for causes that were for the betterment of others.”
Burrows recalls knowing about Jimmy long before he actually met him because everyone knew who he was. “He is definitely a home grown young man. Broward County has watched Jimmy grow up and I strongly believe that he would be a great addition to the Broward County School Board.”
The Smith’s took Jimmy to bible study at Mount Nebo Missionary Baptist Church on Wednesdays, and church services all day on Sundays. He learned all about God’s love, and how to love himself and how to forgive and love others. Through these experiences, Jimmy was molded and shaped to be the Godfearing Pastor and energetic, thoughtful, and hardworking community leader and Brace Advisor he is today.
After Jimmy graduated from Dillard High School, he pursued a Religion and Philosophy Degree from Miami’s Florida Memorial University and became a licensed minister in 2001 under the leadership of Reverend Dr. M. E. Monroe Sr.
Since that time, he has completed courses at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale studying Culinary Arts and Communication, Johnson and Wales University studying Culinary Arts Management, and Atlantic Technical Center.
As a part time employee Jimmy use his culinary skills working at his family’s famous restaurant, Spoons. He did this for seven years while maintaining his full time job with the Broward County Public School System.
Jimmy has grown in his 17 plus years with Broward County School Board and in his church relationships.
Jimmy as an ordained pastor serves under Pastor Torrey Phillips of the Gospel of Christ Church, as the Youth Pastor. He is ordained as the Assistant Youth Pastor by Reverend R. C. Stanley of the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church and is currently serving as the Senior Pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.
In 2003 Jimmy began his career in the school system at South Plantation High School in the cafeteria. He learned the ins and outs of the Public School system food service. He continue to work in the school system in a different area at Arthur Ashe and William Dandy Middle Schools in the capacity of Campus Security. In this role Jimmy was in position to learn the importance of securing school property and more importantly, the safety of the children, administrators, teachers and school staff.
In 2011 he was promoted to his alma mater, Dillard High School where he proudly serves as the BRACE Advisor today. As a BRACE ADVISOR he assists the students in preparing for their future.
Jimmy’s efforts are extended past the schools and churches. He served as Guardian ad Litem for five years, also president and founder of Youth Crusade Outreach Ministries Inc. where the organizations’ efforts in partnership with the local churches have helped many families in the surrounding cities assisting young people in successfully transitioning into adulthood by focusing on academic success, job readiness and the ability to be financially independent.
“I recognized a serious need for child advocates because of my own childhood issues.” “Having my Guardian, Bill Harper in my life was a God sent! He helped me through so much and cared for me when I felt like there was no one. I definitely enjoy being able to be a ‘Bill’ for another child.”
Jimmy’s experience and leadership skills were not bought but, learned with wisdom, character, and the ability to love past the familiar faces.
Being push to be better to serve others has led him to set yet another goal to be a part of something greater; something that will bring about more opportunities to help others. That desire is to once again surpass his current accomplishments and become one of the voices to represent this school District as a Broward County School Board Member for District 9.
“I know Jimmy to be rough enough to be knocked down and to get back up. I don’t always agree with Jimmy however, I do believe he is a fighter for the youth”, stated Bobby R. Henry, Sr. publisher of the Westside Gazette.
Jimmy has been around the school system in several capacities and is he capable of taking on such a task?
Form his alliances it appears that he has the ability to listen to others in order to resolve issues for all affected. He has shown that he is a tireless worker who can set realistic goals and work towards them. Jimmy’s abilities to rise through adversity, remain calm, and tackle any task put before him, especially those that involves helping and securing the future for youth is not a question.
Jimmy’s desire to work hard and set goals has been, to be able to help someone else.
The desire to be there for others has echoed throughout his 38 years of life. It sent him to the Broward County Public Schools System over 17 years ago and has brought him to yet another challenge – to pursue the title of School Board Member for Broward County.
This young community activist is involved in many community activities. He believes that he has been tasked “for such a time as this”, to bring about a change for our youth and this nation.
Jimmy’s experience and willingness to learn are surpassed only by his enthusiasm to effectively meet the challenges set before him; whatever they may be.
Jimmy has been married for nine years to Kandice Witherspoon and they have one son Jimmy, II.