CLEVELAND — Fresh new counter tops and painted walls are just some of the changes Gregg Jones made to the once vacant building on East 71st Street and Superior Avenue over the last two years. Getting the home ready to set up an environment for young men to succeed.
“Every Sunday is family day, it’s just us. We watch movies, have a family meal,” he said.
He’s referring to his life in a mentoring program called A Second Home for You, where he’s providing stability and a safe place for the men that need help.
“They live here with me, although they call me Mr. Jones, they also call me pops,” Jones said.
He took the old woman’s shelter and turned it into a home where 21 young men struggling to get their life started can come to get the help they need.
“Seeing how he started with this building was nothing, and he brought it to something,” said Christopher Jones, 20, who aged-out of Foster Care and has been a mentee under Jones for the past two years.
“It’s just showed me you have to work for what you want,” he said.
Staying at the home late hours into the night and then coming back early in the morning to make sure the guys are taken care of, is what Jones does daily, because he says that’s just how much he loves what he’s doing.
“This is my passion, I love working with young people,” Jones said. “It’s showing you, alright don’t give up, stick to it, whatever you’re trying to do, let me help you do it.”
Before they’re able to stay, and pay a limited affordable rent, the nonprofit executive director makes sure each male is already working toward a goal, whether in college or in school and connecting them to resources in the community like Job Core and Cuyahoga County Community College, as well as building life skills.
“The goal is with my resources is how can they help my young man that’s here,” Gregg Jones said.
Setting them up for a better way of life.
“It’s more of how you can actually help a young person be more productive,” he said.
A life, Chris Jones knew he wanted after months of couch surfing.
He spent most of his life in foster care and is now enrolled in Tri-C, pursuing a career in music and communication.
“Seeing how he was living his life and I was like ‘why I wouldn’t listen to you’, you know,” he said referring to his mentor.
Given that studies show more than one in five young adults without a permanent family ends up homeless after age 18, Jones says what this program is doing is priceless.
“You just have to change your surroundings, because I was a product of my environment, if you seen me three years ago, you’d understand what I’m talking about,” he said.
There are 16 spots to open in the house and Jones is always looking for donations and volunteers.
If you’re interested in helping or are in need of help you can reach him at 216-315-1876 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The home is located at 1261 East 71st Street, Cleveland, OH.