CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — They say it takes a village to raise a child.
So it takes a lot of good people in the community to work with area kids after school at the Bethlehem Center.
One of those volunteers is Juliet Jackson.
Her colleagues say she has a big heart for children, and is making a positive difference in their lives.
That’s why Jackson is this month’s Do the Right Thing winner.
She has been volunteering at the Bethlehem Center with her church, Woodland Park Baptist, for about three years.
She says she loves living for Jesus and working with these kids – teaching them about God and important life skills.
“We’re learning things here,” Jackson said. “We’re not just learning about God’s Word, we’re learning about how to act in the workplace, we’re learning about doing good in school, we’re learning about patience, and respect. We have something of value each week we’re able to teach, so it’s a true blessing.”
Jackson and several other church volunteers come to the Beth each week to teach the kids lessons, and feed them dinner.
“We’ll do a craft, and then we’ll do a game, and then we do candy,” she said. “We try to make it fun, so they walk around, and they get to do a bunch of different things, so they’re not just sitting here the entire time.”
“Ms. Juliet is wonderful,” said Larry Frick, a missions pastor for Woodland Park Baptist. “She’s a God send. What you see is real, it’s not fake. She’s got a, the years I’ve known her, a real heart for the children, is genuine. She cares about them, not just spiritually, that’s why we’re here, but also that they’ll do well in school.”
“Having people like them who are so enthusiastic, who have the resources, and who want to just come and love on our kids here, having them come consistently, and spend time with our kids is a really big deal,” said Gloria Dubose, the Bethlehem Center. “It allows us to continue our mission of discipling our kids, but allowing the community to take part in doing that effort.”
And the adults at church and the Beth aren’t the only ones who say they appreciate Jackson.
The kids she teaches love her too.
“If we’re down, she’ll send us to someone, or she’ll deal with it herself, and she’ll be more nice and sweet, and not like, hey, you’re fixing to get in trouble. She’s not like that, she’s way nicer than that,” said Aidan Williams, a fifth grader.
“I always tell people, if you give me a million dollars, or I could come down here and talk to these people about Jesus and my sweet little kids, I would take that any day. It’s just a joy of my life,” Jackson said.
Jackson is already putting this award money to good use.
So far she’s bought rugs, pillows, pictures, educational games, and a new kids Bible for the children to use at the Bethlehem Center.