Jeremiah Jones is 20 years old. He’s also a clothing company owner, motivational speaker who gave a presentation at a TED Talks convention – and director of the nonprofit Jyoungin & Co.
The nonprofit, 501 (c) (3) certified when Jones was still a teenager, focuses on academics, athletics and leadership, according to its website, and tries “to encourage young people to excel at all aspects of life ”.
And on Saturday, July 31, Jones and his nonprofit will host a distribution of backpacks and school supplies for up to 500 children at Houghton Skate Park in North Long Beach. The event is the latest expansion of his charity, he said, and could not have happened without a partnership with a local WalMart.
“A few months ago, I was talking about the need for partners to help our mission grow,” Jones said last week. “The next thing I know, Walmart donated two pallets of school supplies. It came from a site in Anaheim, where Garee, the manager, had heard about us.
Jones is hard not to hear.
He started his own clothing brand at the age of 8 and started distributing the profits. At 13, Jyoungin & Co. was a certified non-profit organization. His brother Ralph and his parents, Edward and Denise, made up the board of directors. He was also a member of the Long Beach Youth Commission, now called the Commission on Youth and Families.
“We have reached over 100,000 students,” Jones said. “I created a four week motivational and mentoring course. We don’t just talk, we teach them the trades.
“The goal is not to give in to peer pressure and to be the best you can be,” he added.
Earlier this year Jones said he wanted to expand his reach and made up his mind to help young people in Kampala, Uganda. Jyoungin & Co. helped form a youth soccer team – also sending 50 soccer balls, as well as donating toys and sports equipment for the whole village.
Back home, Jones completed his motivation and mentorship program at the Carmelitos Housing Project in North Long Beach. This experience taught him how great the need is here, he said.
Future plans include adding Thanksgiving and Christmas gift events. How quickly this happens depends on the level of donations, Jones added.
But first, there is the back-to-school event.
“This is our first school giveaway,” Jones said. “Thanks to donations, we have plenty of backpacks and school supplies. Vice Mayor Rex Richardson said he would come.
“Now all we need is 500 children to show up to get the supplies,” he said.
There is no need to register, Jones said. Activities will start at 10 a.m. The event will include designs for gift cards and other activities.
Houghton Skate Park is located at 1170 E. Harding St. jyoungin.org.