Xavier Ross: A Life Being Transformed, a Leader in the Making

It’s safe to assume 13-year-old Xavier Ross didn’t initially set out to be a leader among his peers. In fact, in his words, when he was in 6th grade, “I wasn’t used to following rules, I was pretty immature and I got in trouble a lot.”

But then, after more time at The Academy, the middle school run by Jericho’s Pathways Danbury Youth Ministries, Xavier began to grow and mature – as a student, and in his faith.

“In 7th grade, I started to understand about rules and about paying attention in class, and I started to grow closer to Christ,” he said. “By 8th grade, I found out was in the running for valedictorian of my class, so I stepped it up.”

And step it up, he did; Xavier graduated in June as The Academy’s valedictorian, with a 3.94 GPA in 8th grade, and 3.76 for all three years.

What’s even more enlightening about his journey so far is that, when he reflects on his recent week at YoungLife Danbury’s basketball camp, he says one of the best things about it was that, because he already knows a lot about Jesus, “I could help my friends understand it more. People look up to me because I get good grades and I try to help people,” Xavier said.

“Xavier has clearly demonstrated his natural ability to be a leader,” said Everette Hutchins, Headmaster of The Academy. “People are drawn to him. God has blessed him with a gift and it's my prayer that within his high school years he learns how to use this gift with wisdom to reach his full potential.” 

Wes Johnson, who leads YoungLife, another of Jericho’s ministries, concurs: “Xavier is a naturally gifted leader who exudes confidence.  He represented himself and our community well at camp. I am glad to have a front seat to his continued maturation as a young man.”

A sports enthusiast who will attend Stepinac Prep school in White Plains, NY, on a football scholarship in the fall, Xavier says he enjoyed YoungLife basketball camp because “we played basketball all day, and because it’s a Christ-centered place. During cabin time each night, we discussed our needs and what God has done for us. Everybody was honest and no one judged each other.”

Thanks to his participation in Jericho’s ministries, Xavier – who wants to be a neurosurgeon if a career in pro football doesn’t pan out - now looks at his life’s challenges and turns them into goals.

“People had doubts about me a lot,” he said, “but I turned it into encouragement to be the best version of myself.”

ShareFest Update

Imagine a small army of volunteers from 27 Jericho Partnership churches and beyond, joined together to honor God through corporate worship and acts of service … all with the goal of building bridges and partnering better - together.

Bringing people together is a key element of community reconciliation, and bringing people together for a greater good is what Jericho Partnership hopes to achieve through ShareFest 2018.

Jay Frank: The GSM Difference is "Huge"

Jay Frank’s life was on a path that gave no hint that there’d be a day when a pastor would show up at his hospital bed to tell him about a ministry serving addicts. Jay had a solid Catholic education, graduated from law school, and, at different times in his life was a teacher, lawyer and a lobbyist (all while living in Alaska), as well as a teacher in a local prep school. But the disease of alcoholism, rampant in his family, grabbed hold of him.

Erick Hernandez: "This Program Is What It Says It Is"

To hear Erick Hernandez tell it, the 6th-grade version of himself was “a rowdy kid” who didn’t pay much attention to his teachers and didn’t care much about his school work.  His grades told the dismal story.

Today, however, there exists a completely different version of Erick Hernandez – a “totally focused student” and graduate of Immaculate High School who has successfully completed the Pathways Danbury Mentoring program, grown in maturity and faith, and earned a $10,000 grant from the Maranatha Foundation (a Jericho Foundation Partner) to pave the way to limitless potential.

Natasha Wright: Naomi Graduate

Natasha Wright has the distinction of being among the first young women to graduate from Naomi Mentoring … and she’s done it with honor, holding the highest GPA of the eight girls who last week graduated from area high schools, the realization of Jericho Partnership’s mission to increase graduation rates among Danbury youth.

Thanks to her success in meeting the criteria set out by Naomi and the Maranatha Foundation (Jericho’s Foundation Partner), Natasha will receive a $10,000 grant to use for educational or career-advancement purposes.  A graduate of Danbury High School, Natasha plans to attend Western Connecticut State University to major in Psychology.

She joined Naomi the end of 8th grade and was paired with Mentor Hope Johnson; she’s been with Mentor Michelle Romano since her Junior year of high school, when Hope moved out of the area.

Natasha shares more about her experience with Pathways Danbury Youth Ministries…