Nigel Jules: Charity begins at home
THE FIRST THING that came to mind after meeting Nigel Jules was that he is a man with a purpose. The founder of registered charity Purpose 180 Foundation chatted with EASY magazine about the little known organisation, how it came about and his road map for the future as he seeks to “empower a generation”.
In the short time of its existence, he has been able to change the lives of those boys who enrolled in the programme, helping them to see their purpose and realise their potential.
“I would have been working and running my own business in 2012. Being a Christian I always wanted to serve, I love to serve. it’s always been a part of me, a part of my teaching. In 2012 I closed my business and went into full-time ministry which is basically serving, giving to others without asking for anything, not looking for anything. I actually started serving Lester Vaughan School and the guidance counsellor, Mrs Rosalind Gibson,” he said.
Nigel said he was assisting a social work student attached to the school during the first term of the 2012-2013 academic year, and as that student’s time came to an end, he asked if he could continue the peer supporters programme she had initiated.
“Just serving the students at the school showed me that there was a need for people outside of the educational system, outside of the regular 9 to 5, who could just pore into these young people because an hour alone cannot really do it. Young people need the attention, the support, the counselling and the guidance . . . .
“So from there I opted to continue training myself. I would have continued learning different techniques [for] working with young people, doing life coaching. I travelled and acquired the necessary knowledge and skills so that I would be more capable of serving these young people.”
The charity came out of the realisation that young people had a need and “the lack of fathers, lack of support, and lack of love” more or less cemented his drive to do something about it.
“There was just a great need for assistance not just for young people even though they are my focus. There is a great need out there for people in different areas whether it be the elderly, the underprivileged, the poor in esteem, poor financially, physically. The need was there and I sought to fill the need,” he said.
A ball is one of the key elements of Purpose 180. It represents who they are and it is the starting point for any new members. He said that when asked to describe football or basketball, most boys talk about the type and colour but as they delve more into the sessions, they realise that a ball, like themselves, was created for a purpose.
The number 180 speaks about change, but Nigel noted that not every change was from a negative to a positive and could be something as simple as changing from a good grade to a better one.
“Change speaks of being an at-risk individual to being one who is positive in society. Change speaks to low self-esteem and having that individual become bolder. Change speaks to a person having nothing to eat or drink but we are able to provide them with something, teaching them a life skill or a trade that they can change their situation.
“Foundation [in the name] speaks to the value system that we live by. I’m a Christian so a lot of my principles and values are Biblically based. This is where we get the purpose, who we are and why we were created; 180 speaks to the changes that we want to have in the lives of our young people in schools, communities, the nation and the world,” he said.
His decision to have a charity focusing on boys was deliberate. He sees the need to have boys be boys and often takes them fishing, camping, roasting breadfruits, and engages them in activities that are not only cool and fun but teaches skills.
The first programme, which started in earnest last year, had six boys. Parents who sign up their children have to identify the areas they want them to be stronger in or develop.
Nigel said he likes to mentor the youngsters and even though some of them are without fathers or men in their lives he is not seeking to be a replacement. Rather he wants to be an example.
“Many times we tell a child we want them to be this or that but how does that look practically? We want people to walk them through life and that’s basically what the charity is. It is teaching them about service, decision making and about who you are and your creative capabilities, why were you created, what is your purpose . . . how to set goals . . . and teaching them how a man is supposed to be.”
He works with organisations and invites skilled people to help the boys develop.
It’s not unusual for him to have Christmas in July food and a toiletries drive so the boys can distribute hampers to people in need or clean up communities where the boys reside.
There is no funding for the programmes and they rely heavily on donations for projects. He is working on getting sponsorship which would allow him to “properly finance” projects and the programmes.
“Parents at The Lester Vaughan School would have donated as well as the PTA but definitely for this year we’re really trying to push getting sponsorship and donations. We try to be as transparent as possible so people can see exactly what we’re doing and see this is not a gimmick for making money,” he said, adding that he has a problem with continuing to fund them from his pocket.
Nigel will continue to fulfil his purpose and passion for service. He will continue to be that agent for change.
“I’m not in it for any glory and I don’t involve the media in a lot of things that we do. I’m not doing it for fame, for glory or recognition. I’m doing it because there’s a need and it has to be met and I believe I’m being called to meet that need. With growth, I will use the opportunity that you have offered to create that awareness . . . “. (GBM)