We had the good fortune of connecting with Susan Jackson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Susan, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
Although, happiness is based on a particular happening or event in your life, the bible says that the joy of the Lord is my strength. So, what brings Susan Jackson joy? Working in a position where my gifts and talents are being utilized. As You Can Coordinator at Friends of North Richmond, I am afforded the opportunity to transform lives which is our mission. Our mission is to empower by strengthening lives through spiritual growth, education, revitalization, and basic needs. I have been given an assignment to make decisions in my position that positively impact the lives of others as well as my community. I impart into those around me and encourage people to grow beyond where they are. Transforming and renewing the mind of people so that they can see themselves through the eyes of God. We all have purpose and the power within to do exceedingly above anything we could ever think or imagine. I want everyone I meet to know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). This is the joy I experience everyday as I walk into the Friends of North Richmond building knowing that God has given me the power to create and build better lives for those in the North Richmond Community.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I began working at Friends of North Richmond, a location of Attack Poverty, about 2 years ago. At it’s core, Friends of North Richmond is Christ Centered and Biblically Based. This shows in all of our programs and the staff that works there. I have never before experienced the freedom of sharing the gospel and leading Bible studies at my workplace. With this freedom, I get to use my gifts and talents to benefit and support the community. It is liberating and life giving! What’s more, the transformation in the lives of the students and the whole family is amazing. At You Can Academy, we say that we feed the students in mind, body and spirit. We offer individualized after school tutoring, a healthy meal, and Christ centered programming. We know that all three are intertwined and you can not offer one without the other, but it is fact that our programming is Christ Centered and relationally based that sets You Can Academy apart from other after school programs. We get to listen and learn about each child and then turn around to use this information to uniquely invest and support them. Confidence grows in the children as they learn about their abilities and knowledge of who they are. It is through this relationship building that transformation happens! It is through this relationship that the students begin to believe and listen to the truth and love being spoken over them. We get to share that they are fearfully and wonderfully made in His eyes with gifts and talents to be used for His glory! The students then turn around and share this learning with their whole family at home! Its’ amazing to see potential awaken and transformation provoked in the whole family. However, I do not do this work alone. I am part of an amazing team that works together to accomplish the goal of breaking the cycle of generation poverty. The team at Friends of North Richmond is like a true family – we grow together, hold each other accountable, and celebrate each others accomplishments. When I hit a road block or am overwhelmed, they stand by my side, encourage me, and support me. They have taught me it is not about being perfect or doing it on my own. The focus is relationship and working as a team. I’ve learned that we are truly better together. I learned and seen the vast amount of resources and talents in our staff and community, and when we leverage all of them together, the impact is out of this world. It has not all been easy though. When I first come into my role, there were a lot of families and parents that did not trust me. I wanted to serve and love, but I first had to spend the time to build the relationship. I invested in simply listening and spending time with the students and the parents – hearing what hardships were happening at home, how the program could improve, and the family dynamics. It was through this time listening that the long lasting relationships were formed that I have with the parents and the whole family today. It was a learning experience of letting myself be available to the whole family and just sitting and listening. But it has paid off! I have formed true friendships with the parents and they will now call with questions about their kid’s school, assignments, or even just to bring food by. It is these friendships and relationships that I am most proud of. I’ve learned it’s about being able to meet people where they are at spiritually and emotionally. When students or community members come at their lowest and are discouraged, it brings me join to be able to encourage them and uplift them. Being able to support them through long term relationship is beautiful as I know its not about a hand up, but a hand up. It’s empowerment and walking alongside people. I am most proud of being able to make a difference in someone’s life.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Richmond has a wealth of history! Richmond has been the site of a second mini civil war, the home of civil rights activists, and burial ground of both ex-presidents of Texas and unmarked slave graves. I believe it is important to share this history of the Bluejay-Woodpecker War, of Arizona Flemming, and of the prison system. Richmond is historically rich and remembering and sharing this history leads us into a brighter future. Some of my favorite spots in Richmond are small mom and pop shops that have been around for years. Jaimes has the best burgers in town, but if you are in the mood for a sandwich and fruit, Sandy McGee’s can’t be beat. On a beautiful day, you can find me taking my lunch break at George Park or walking through downtown Rosenberg exploring their old shops.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to shoutout my husband, Anthony Jackson, who is also the Senior Pastor of Mt. Zion Church. My husband’s guidance and teaching as a leader has driven me to know and explore my God given purpose. He has supported and created the space for me to live into my calling. My spiritual mother, Leslie Creekmur, has pushed me beyond what I thought I could accomplish. She has constantly encouraged my spiritual growth through her calling out and nurturing my gifts and talents. My friends, Stefanie, Keisha, Yolanda, & Jonnae, have stayed with me through my flaws and called me to be better. They have stuck by my side and brought out the best in me.

Website: attack poverty.org
Instagram: @attackpoverty
Linkedin: Attack Poverty
Twitter: @attackpoverty
Facebook: Attack Poverty

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