"Saving Lives One Dance Step At A Time"

The Posh Factory Performing Arts Centre, a studio where a wide variety of arts and musical theater are taught by the one and only Sherrod Brown, Owner and Director. Sherrod is a native of Jacksonville, where he attended Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. He has always had a passion for performing and started his journey with singing. When he first auditioned at Douglas Anderson for dance, he was denied and told to come back and audition again. The first day of school came around and he waited anxiously to hear and purposely missed the bus to not go to his neighborhood school. He called Douglas Anderson and was told by the guidance counselor he was accepted and he was ecstatic! His career in performing arts kicked off from there. He started making YouTube videos and was found by Debbie Allen to audition for an unnamed artist. Out of 200 contestants who auditioned, Sherrod was chosen and would be touring with Mariah Carey! Sherrod’s performing career launched when he started to perform with other well-known artists such as Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia and more. He also was on BET’s Bobby Jones Gospel and performed in multiple broadway performances.

Sherrod felt a calling to open his own studio back in Jacksonville. He made a Facebook post about opening a studio and raised $10,000 with the help of family and friends. He moved back to Jacksonville with his son and opened up The Posh Factory in its first location on the Northside. The parents of the students helped continue the dream of Posh Factory to open a new studio in a new location, Beaver Street Enterprise Center. Sherrod said they chose Beaver Street as their new location because it is core-city and more central to everything in Jacksonville. It is also closer to both Lavilla School of the Arts and Douglas Anderson! Since moving to Beaver Street, Posh Factory has gained new students.

The Posh Factory has been in business for a little over two years and believes in the young performer. “I want girls to know they are excellent; they are black-excellence; they are powerful; they are beautiful, gorgeous, refined, elegant, high-class, upper-class, upscale and that’s the reason I named it the Posh Factory” Sherrod said. The Posh Factory covers Jazz, Ballet/Pointe, Modern, Contemporary, Hip-Hop and Musical Theater to all ages and nationalities but mainly the young performers and home of the black girl magic.

If you are interested in learning more about The Posh Factory, please feel free to contact Sherrod Brown at (904) 265-4700 or send him a message on The Posh Factory Performing Arts Centre Facebook Page

 

 

Fresh Futures Youth Program Welcomes New Program Coordinator

Anthony Stanley has joined FreshMinistries as Fresh Futures Program Coordinator.

Anthony, a native of Decatur, Illinois, a small town outside of Chicago, has an extensive background working with youth. Anthony started his career working at Decatur Park District as a recreational worker planning activities, supervising and tutoring youth for over five years. Anthony furthered his career with adjudicated youth by working at Macon County State’s Attorney Office providing intervention services to juveniles in teen court and helped teens with 1st time offensives clear their records. Anthony also has experience as a sexual risk avoidance educator, working at New Life Pregnancy Center. He prepared and presented in middle and high schools approved sexual risk avoidance/abstinence curriculum.

In his spare time, Anthony runs a ministry with his wife Jennifer where they help individuals acquire leadership skills, organizational development, and a wide-variety of training services. Anthony has a passion for music, reading (he is an author and has a book published!), playing basketball and spending time with his wife.

Anthony describes Fresh Futures Youth Programs as challenging, impactful and beneficial. He is ready to bring new excitement to the programs and engage more youth who are futuristic. He is already creating a new youth mentor program where the youth will improve and develop leadership skills to help their peers!

LifePoint Graduate Finds Hope

Jacqueline Evans came to LifePoint Career Institute unsure of what would happen next in life. Jacqueline heard about LifePoint through a friend and started at LifePoint unemployed, hoping that this was her next opportunity to change that. Jacqueline shared her struggles with us; she has an adult disabled son, there were times when she did not have food, money to pay her bills, transportation issues and wanted to quit coming to LifePoint classes at times but remained to be one of the top students the program has ever seen. She encouraged her fellow peers to form study groups and encouraged each of them when obstacles in life arose. Jacqueline received LifePoint’s Shining Star award at graduation which meant she was a top student within the program and made a perfect score on the American Hotel and Lodging Association Certification Exam.

After the LifePoint session was completed, Jacqueline came back to interview with Shuriah Bledsoe of Goodwill Temps and received a temporary position with Goodwill. Recently, Jacqueline was offered  permanent employment and has been encouraged to apply as a team lead! The Goodwill location she was placed is walking distance from her home which helped her tremendously because she is able to walk to work and not rely on anyone or public transportation, once again proving her motivation. “I will always remember the instructors at LifePoint and everything you all encouraged me to do. You all are a true blessing in my life,” said Jacqueline.

 

Fresh Futures Best Friends Run for Mr. & Miss Jean Ribault Sr. High School

Fresh Futures friends Jordan Mills and Miracle Bell both attend Jean Ribault Senior High School, where they both will be in the running for Mr. and Miss Ribault. Jordan and Miracle are very excited for this opportunity to show their school spirit and be part of a school pageant! The theme of this year’s Mr. and Miss Ribault Pageant is, “The Myth, The Legend, The Legacy,” and is centered on the premise of self-love and an appreciation of one’s uniqueness.

About Jordan:

Jordan is in the early college program at Ribault, which will allow him to graduate high school with his associates degree. Jordan is the president of the 5,000 Role Models of Excellence Club, a member of the National Honor Society and represents Ribault on a District I Level being part of the j.a.g.s (Jacksonville Association of Governing Students).

Jordan is running for Mr. Ribault because he feels he is someone who can relate to the different types of students and Mr. Ribault needs to be someone who can be a friend to all students. “It is important that all students feel like Ribault is their school, not just where they are going to school” says Jordan. Jordan’s talent for the pageant will be a monologue but says you have to wait until the night of the pageant to see what it is! Jordan believes that self-love and appreciating your uniqueness is very important and first you have to love yourself before you love anyone else. Jordan said one of his favorite quotes is by Dr. Seuss, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out.”

Being part of a Fresh Futures program for Jordan has allowed him and his peers to be in a safe place to be themselves and said it goes beyond getting a summer job. “It is a place where valuable information is given, unscripted and raw,” says Jordan. Jordan says Fresh Futures builds character, friendships, allows one to voice their opinions and is a great help to all youth in our community.

About Miracle:

Miracle is a member of numerous clubs and organizations at Ribault. She is a member of the Divas of Fidelity, The Singing Trojans and in the Marine Corps JROTC Program. Last fall, Miracle was featured in our newsletter for traveling to Tanzania where she participated in a wide range of missionary activities and spending time with children for five days.

Miracle is running for Miss Ribault because she feels she can make the student’s voice heard through her own and make the school better. Miracle wants to help change the negative perspective of the school and help her classmates achieve more and become successful young adults. She wants to make sure each student has the tools to be successful when it is time to branch out and explore the world. Miracle’s talent for the pageant is a surprise and we won’t find out until the night of the show! Miracle believes that self-love and appreciating your uniqueness is knowing your own worth and loving yourself. “Love yourself, so that nobody can break down your confidence,” says Miracle.

Being part of the Fresh Futures program for Miracle has helped shape her in more than one way, she says. Miracle says she has truly learned more about professionalism, which has helped her with summer internships, at school and will help her in the future. “Fresh Futures is family,” Miracle said.

 

World Relief Refugees Working in Aquaponics Greenhouse

World Relief Jacksonville works to resettle refugees from all over the world and help them obtain self-sufficiency. We are so happy to have Benjamin and Erica working with us in our aquaponics greenhouse! 

Benjamin is a refugee from the Congo and was a former secondary school teacher who taught French and English. He taught English mostly to the adults in the village he was from. When he first heard about the aquaponics job he thought it might be hard or only for literate people. Benjamin was amazed by the technology of the closed loop water system and how it was able to go from the fish to the plants and recycle. "I love seeing the fish especially and I miss working on the days I have off. I even come back on the days I am off just to look at it all. I really like working here," Benjamin said.

Erica is a refugee from Columbia and was a former worker on a traditional dirt farm. Erica has knowledge about different plants and gardening. She enjoys cooking and likes working in the greenhouse because she gets to garden in a different way and learn new ways to grow food. She likes taking the produce home that is grown in the greenhouse and learning how to cook with new plants she hasn’t cooked with before.

About our Founder | Dr. Lee

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About Dr. Lee

The Rev. Dr. Robert V. Lee III
Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

After serving as rector of Church of Our Saviour in Jacksonville, Florida, Dr. Lee was called to establish a new kind of ministry. Having created the concept for FreshMinistries in 1988 and incorporating it into a working 501(c)(3) in 1989, Dr. Lee elevated the organization to a full-time ministry in 1994. It was his dream to bring his ministry out of the church and into the community to serve all faiths and races. His interfaith, interracial outreach unites people in need and the people who have resources to share with the less fortunate. Dr. Lee’s mission for FreshMinistries and its partners is to utilize all available resources as tools to empower individuals in need with opportunities to improve their lives and those of their families. These opportunities, provided through the many programs of FreshMinistries, work through education, economic redevelopment, health initiatives and housing in communities throughout the world.

Before becoming an ordained priest, Dr. Lee had a successful career in business. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and continued graduate studies in journalism at the University of Georgia. Upon accepting his calling into the ministry, he earned a master’s of divinity from Yale University and a doctorate of theology from New York Theological Seminary.

Currently serving as a non-stipendiary Canon for Outreach and Ecuminism in the Diocese of Florida, he has also served parishes in Connecticut and Florida. He has served as the Chairman of the Interfaith Sub-Committee of the 2005 Super Bowl Host Committee in Jacksonville and as a director for: St. Mary’s Outreach Ministry in Jacksonville, the Samaritan Center, Dignity-U-Wear, Christian Healing Ministries, Jacksonville Interfaith Council, Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville (HabiJax), Jacksonville Urban League and the Florida Council of Churches. By appointment of President George W. Bush, Dr. Lee serves on the Presidential Advisory Council on Financial Literacy; by appointment of Governor Jeb Bush, Dr. Lee currently serves as a member of the Governor’s Faith-based Advisory Board, for the state of Florida. As a mayoral appointee he also serves on the Mayor’s Faith-based and Community Advisory Board for the city of Jacksonville. Dr. Lee is also the first head of a not-for-profit organization to serve as a Director on the Board of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Compass Rose Society an organization of the Anglican Communion serving the Archbishop of Canterbury. By appointment of Queen Elizabeth II, Dr. Lee has also been inducted into the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

Fresh Path Success Stories | Deidra Brooks

 Deidra Brooks landed a fulltime job with FarmShare just one week into her Fresh Path internship.

Deidra Brooks landed a fulltime job with FarmShare just one week into her Fresh Path internship.

Deidra Brooks, 19, was directed to the Fresh Path program by her probation officer. “I had a felony on my record,” she says. “When I came to Fresh Path, I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t think it would benefit me. But it has benefited me in many ways.”

After completing the job readiness components of the program, Deidra worked as an intern at a summer camp, cleaning and helping in the kitchen. Soon after that, she started working at Jacksonville’s foodbank distribution operation FarmShare, and after one week as an intern she was offered a fulltime job.

“I load trucks, I load stuff on pallets, I wrap boxes, I put food out to go to the different agencies to donate to others for food drives, for the disabled,” she says.

Fresh Ministries made a dramatic difference in her life, Deidra says. “I’m off probation now. If it wasn’t for Fresh Path keeping me busy with something that could benefit me in the future, I don’t know where I’d be.”

Deidra says that her Fresh Path training taught her the value of hard work and providing excellent customer service.

“I think I have a chance now at a good life and being successful,” she says.

Summer Internship Students

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Marcus Richards, is currently a student at Paxon School for Advanced Studies and is a first year student in our Fresh Futures program.

Richards, is participating in the summer internship program, working at WJCT. Richards loves learning the ins and outs of every department. “I have a passion for music and I’m hoping when I go to the production department, to sit behind the soundboard and learn more about radio,” says Richards. Richards is having a great time at WCJT!

Fresh Futures students Win Recognition

Two of our Fresh Futures students have recently received recognition in a big way, and we are really proud of them.

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Jordan Mills was one of 100 students from around the country selected for the Disney Dreamers Academy, sponsored by Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine. The Jean Ribault High School sophomore got to spend four days at Disney World in Orlando in March, meeting with Harvey, enjoying the resort , participating in a parade and receiving mentoring in graphic design and communications, part of his chosen career field.

Mills says that meeting with Steve Harvey was great. “He brought all the students into the room, no media, no parents, no cameras. He talked to us about life choices and being mindful of the decisions we make. He was fun. He actually used some words that I probably would get in trouble for using. It was funny, but overall, he made sure we got the message that he was talking about.”

Asia Duncan

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Asia Duncan, a sophomore at First Coast High School, has been selected to attend the National Academy of Future Physicians in Boston, Massachusetts this summer. She wants to be a cardiothoracic surgeon, and says her career path was inspired by watching “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“Surgery is cool to me,” she says, “opening up someone’s chest, having the opportunity to save them, being the last hope they might have.” Duncan is a straight-A student and is most excited about getting to view an actual open-heart surgery when she is Boston. She is working to raise money for her travel, and so far has raised $865 of the $2000 she needs.

Both students are in their second year in the Fresh Futures program, and each credits the program with much of their success.

“I’ve learned life lessons, of course, hands-on learning experience and of course got my first job,” says Mills. “I was a party coordinator at Pump It Up (party coordinators). I actually want to work at Pump It Up again.”

“Fresh Futures gives me opportunities that I normally would not be able to take on,” says Duncan, whose internship last summer was with the Florida Department of Health. “I hope to work in a clinic this summer.”

LifePoint Success Stories

Dimonica Carter

The Jacksonville Hospitality Institute helped land Dimonica Carter, 24, a job at DisneyWorld in Orlando. “I applied for Disney while I was in the class,” she said. “Within a week, they hired me.”

 Dimonica Carter credits LifePoint Career Institute with helping launch her career at Disney.

Dimonica Carter credits LifePoint Career Institute with helping launch her career at Disney.

Dimonica was living in a women’s homeless shelter and taking cosmetology classes when she saw a flier about the LifePoint Career Institute and decided to enroll. She continued with cosmetology classes while learning to work in the hospitality industry and is now a cosmetologist working with the entertainment cast at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

“I help the performers with hair and makeup, helping them look show-ready for our guests,” she says. She credits LifePoint with giving her skills and a foundation upon which to build a career. “The class was very uplifting,” she says, “It gave me great information and the people were so positive. It gave me hope and great skills.”

She has worked at Disney for a year now and loves it. “The job is demanding, but they love me. It really is a career. I appreciate where I am right now, but I can’t forget where I came from.”