James Jones is another one of those great rags-to-riches stories. Throughout his childhood, Jones had to rely on homeless shelters in San Jose, California for food and clothing. When he was seven years old, he met his father for the first time. Unfortunately, Jones’ father was a drug addict and refused to pay child support. From the age of eight to fourteen, Jones grew up in homeless shelters with his mother and sister. He was also surrounded by people who abused drugs and stole money. His future was very limited and not very assuring. At the age of 13, Jones and his mother were evicted from their one-bedroom apartment. All Jones had was a backpack and a basketball. Luckily, Jones’ mother was a beacon of hope for this young man’s life.
Jones’ mother, Janet, took her two children, Desiree and James, to a shelter when she couldn’t stay at a friend’s or relative’s house. The Jones family lived in shelters four times, sometimes for five months at a time. Jones moved so much as a child he went to seven different elementary schools. He sometimes took special education courses to keep up academically. While Jones was at school, his mother would take the bus to work and they would meet back at the homeless shelter every night. This went on for what seemed like an eternity.
“I saw how strong my mother was just to keep on,” Jones said. “She worked so hard with nothing. She tried to get a job here, a job there. I saw how hard she worked. I would never let my mother down. I would do anything to make her happy, and what made her happy was me going to school and staying out of trouble.” (Credit: JSOnline.com)
As a young boy, Jones was tempted to do things he knew God wouldn’t want him to do. Living in a bad neighborhood, Jones made friends with thugs, drug dealers and burglars. Somehow someway, Jones held strong to his mother’s beliefs and he stuck close to her rather than falling prey to the ways of the world.
After Jones went to go live with his grandmother during high school, his athletic talents were presented on display. He was one of the best players on the Gunderson High School basketball team, but his play at wide receiver, quarterback and safety on the football team was what the college prospects were really impressed with. The athletic high school superstar went to San Jose State University where he caught 125 passes for 1,488 yards and 12 touchdowns in 35 games.
From there, Jones was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He was a part of the Packer’s Super Bowl winning team and back on March 17, he signed a three-year deal with the Oakland Raiders. His past did not determine his future as he held strong to his faith and believed in the hope of God through seeing his mother and what she accomplished.
Now, Jones has decided to help out the ones who used to be in his position. He partners with a homeless shelter in Green Bay called Freedom House. For the past four years, Jones has donated to this shelter and has provided for those in need. He also helps out disadvantaged children through his other foundation “Love Jones for Kids.”
Jones’ story proves that everyone can make it. No matter where you come from and no matter what kind of environment you grew up in, you can escape it through the power of Jesus Christ. Jones knows that God doesn’t put any obstacle in his path that he can’t handle. Jones was able to escape poverty and is now making millions in the NFL. It just goes to show that as long as you put your faith in God, He will bless you in due time.