JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The school year is just around the corner and one local organization is working to continue its annual tradition despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and concerns over monkeypox.
Jewels of the Future, Inc. hosted a back-to-school giveaway Sunday afternoon in the Lake Forest Hills neighborhood.
This was the nonprofit’s sixth annual back-to-school drive. The drive-thru style party kicked off at 2 p.m. in front of the Cutz-Lined and Trimz Barbershop off Moncrief Road. There were already cars lined up when the team arrived to set up. The organization received donations to put together backpacks filled with school supplies.
Attendees were ready to receive their backpacks with the addition of sweet treats like cotton candy and Italian ice. They also received hamburgers, hotdogs and chips before they drove off with their goodies.
The rise of COVID-19 and monkeypox numbers weren’t going to stop this organization from getting things accomplished.
Usually, Jewels of the Future throws a back-to-school party — which is much bigger than the back-to-school drive — that includes more interactive activities for the children, but the rise in numbers caused the organization to find a safer way to continue its tradition of giving back to the community.
The nonprofit organization was founded by Diamond Wallace and her mother Renita Turner, who started the organization in memory of Turner’s mother and Wallace’s grandmother.
“We’ve been going this since 2016, so this is something that’s a really big deal for us. It’s how we started Jewels of the Future, Inc. by just giving back to the community and doing these parties,” Wallace said, co-founder of Jewels of the Future.
Jewels of the Future mentors young girls with a focus on entrepreneurship, community service and education. It is dedicated to creating a safe space for girls to feel heard and seen while providing them with the tools they need for a brighter future.
“We want our girls to know that they can be entrepreneurs as well as working on someone’s job, the sky’s the limit with our organization. Community service and community interaction are the base of our organization,” Turner said, a co-founder.
Turner hopes that as Jewels of the Future continues to grow, the back-to-school giveaway can become a citywide event with multiple partnerships including the City of Jacksonville and other community organizations.
“We’re going to continue to do it with the help of our community, our friends, our clients and the city of Jacksonville. We just want to get bigger and bigger,” Turner said. “We would like to basically get involved with other organizations to not make this just one event if everyone believes that it’s important to give back. That’s what Jewels of the Future is about and we’re going to continue to do it as long as we can.”
The nonprofit is also hosting a community clean-up on Aug. 21 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Click here for more details.