A 'Jones' for helping the community
CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 2/15/2012, 7:17 p.m.
If you look at all of the work Marcus Jones does in the community, you might ask yourself, "How does he do it?"
Jones, 38, is an assistant project manager for New York City's School Construction Authority. He consults on and oversees new schools being built in the city to deal with student overcrowding issues.
However, when he's not working, Jones is giving back to his neighborhood through his church and work with his fraternity. Jones serves in leadership roles, coordinating community service and outreach.
"I do a lot of work in the community because it makes me feel good," he said. "This is what I love and I believe this is God wants me to do."
A native of Memphis, Tenn., Jones said that even though he has been in New York since 2006, he's "a true Southerner at heart." He graduated from the historically Black LeMoyne-Owen College in his hometown, where he studied education. While in college, he pledged Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
Jones later graduated from St. Ida College, where he studied mortuary science, then worked at several funeral homes along the East Coast. In New York City, he worked at several prominent funeral homes, including Benta's Funeral Home. He said his years of working around so much death gave him a look at the some of the ills in the world, which fueled his urge to make change.
"I've seen a lot of death and the results of Black-on-Black crime and how mean people can be to each other through senseless violence," he said. "It allowed me to see firsthand the results of how mean people can be to each other and how quick a wrong reaction can be the wrong response."
Before coming to his current position, he worked at the Learning Annex, helping people learn real estate and wealth building. Jones worked and traveled with several financial gurus: Donald Trump, George Foreman and Robert Kiyosaki.
But as Jones' professional life flourishes, his community service, he said, is what fulfills him. With the New York Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, he serves as community liaison, and through his membership at Abyssinian Baptist Church, he serves as president of the Mattie Fletcher Powell Ministry, which handles community service outreach for the church.
"One of my goals was to make my positions operating positions, to reach out to the community as much as can and do all I can to help," he said.
His resume of community service projects with both organizations includes helping the elderly at local nursing homes, volunteering his time to assist kids and feeding the hungry, all on a consistent basis. Jones recently joined in the efforts of the city's Department of Homeless Services, volunteering his overnight hours to help survey the city's homeless population in upper Manhattan.
Another of his recent random acts of kindness was organizing a free screening of the movie "Red Tails" for the community through his fraternity.
"I've always been a person who has been for the community," he said. "I always embrace learning new things and getting a better understanding of what the needs of the community are."
As for Jones' future, he said he has aspirations to make even bigger change in the community by possibly becoming a politician.