Action in Naranja!
Community Support Program of Naranja changes lives of youth in fundamental ways ... from the inside out.
by Ed Cohen, Editor
Van Brown and Xavier Jones Receive a $200 donation from Mitchell Panter Esq., of Panter, Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A. attorneys at Law for additional school materials.
You read about this Naranja based community organization, Community Support Program of Naranja (CSPN), and it does not seem possible that it was founded by a 6th grade student. Now Xavier Jones is in 10th grade and his perseverance is being recognized.
Van Brown, CSPN Senior Director, met Xavier five years ago through his niece. He was telling how they were a little short of cash for a field trip he was planning. This was a elementary kid who was going door to door talking to parents, getting other kids involved, and he needed some adult assistance. That's when Brown told him he would help him out. Brown, who is a Service Representative at Barrett and Fryar Funeral Home, asked if they could help and they did.
But it was Xavier who called companies to ask for help ... and got it. Van Brown was astounded at this kids ability to communicate with adults so effectively. Because of his "style," he has gotten help, from many sources including the following companies: Barrett and Fryar Funeral Homes, Seven Seas Transportation, First National Bank of Homestead, Florida Sun T-Shirts, Winn-Dixie of Naranja Plaza, Automotive Associates, and Marrise Day Care.
How good is this kid? At fifteen years old he is the driving force behind the organization. Van Brown and the other adult members of the cadre pretty much follow his lead and do what they can to protect him, and provide adult guidance at the appropriate time. But this is Xavier's show and it is working.
He started out in elementary school helping classmates with homework. This is still one of the major platforms of the organization. To belong, a student must get his parents permission and the parent must participate. Students must bring their homework to meeting and each has to have their teacher complete a progress report. They have to participate in car washes and other fundraisers, and they must help each other. There's more to it.
Presently they don't have a permanent or regular place to meet. Sometimes they meet in the park. It appears that county agencies, aware of his success and longevity, have created impediments for no good reason. Xavier asked to use the copier at the parks office, bringing his own paper, and they started becoming difficult. The Naranja Community Neighborhood Center has not committed to letting them meet, so he improvises.
When Mitchell Panter read the story of this program he determined that this was something he and his law firm could assist. Mitchell agreed to help them become a tax exempt organization. Van Brown said that before Mitchell got involved Xavier had already researched it and had the form filled out to begin the process.
Xavier Jones is real. And this program, the Community Support Program of Naranja, is the most real program in Miami-Dade, and it been in existence for over 5 years. This program is truly worthy of attention and participation by responsible sponsors.
At the risk of being criticized for this analogy, after talking to Xavier the song Nature Boy came to mind. Certainly not for any prurient reason, but as a former teacher, he represents that rare student that does it just right: they pay attention, do the assignments, really want to learn, and are respectful. Xavier is probably one of those students, too. But he is definitely a rare person. Starting Out in 6th grade, he's accomplished more because he persevered. Now we must keep the professional vultures, those who would interject themselves for personal aggrandizement. Van Brown has done it right, following Xavier's lead. This that will sustain his vision and keep CSPN a viable community project. All that's left is to get those county run "community based" agencies off their butts.