Pat Jones often rides the bus for free—because when she hops on, drivers know that the service she provides to their passengers is worth much more than the fare. She’s a minister at the First Church of God Center of Hope in Inglewood. “But the people who need counsel the most are the ones who don’t come to church,” she says. “So I go where they are.” Jones has been a community activist for over 20 years, first a union organizer, then as paid staff for local elections. In her free time, she has canvassed neighborhoods, raised money for food and clothing for the homeless, and tended to the ill, especially those without health insurance. But ever since she can remember, she’s sought ways to do better.
Jones found out about SCOPE when she was in her fifties. “SCOPE really helped me consider new possibilities for reaching out to people,” she says.
“SCOPE really helped me consider new possibilities for reaching out to people.”
As an organization leader, Jones traveled with SCOPE to Caracas in Venezuela to meet with community groups, learn about conditions of life there, and bring home new solutions to local problems—a fact-finding mission Jones found deeply rewarding. She joined SCOPE’s Healthcare Career Ladder Training Program, not to find a job for herself, but to provide medical services to her family members and neighbors who were lacking access. She’s now gearing up to knock on doors for Barack Obama to make sure South LA’s residents understand how the new health insurance policies will affect them personally.
Every week, Jones takes the train to the 7-11 on Century Road to talk to a woman who lives outside the building. She’s homeless, so Jones checks on her food stamps, gives her clothing, and reminds her that she’s got options available to her. “But here’s the real reason I go there,” she says. “ I make her laugh. I remind her that she’s still alive, and that she can still do for herself. People see me everywhere and I don’t even have a car. But God is everywhere, right? If I didn’t help people, then I would never have been able to help myself. So I try not to let anything stop me.”