MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER
Leslie Longmire / Executive Director
I am the youngest of five children born to Glover and Margaret Byrd Jones. I’ve been married for four years to a dedicated middle school dean and I have three wonderful brothers and a lovely sister. I attended Florida A&M University, graduating in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. At a later date, I obtained an MBA / Accounting degree from the University of Phoenix via distance learning while gainfully employed.
The Margaret Byrd Jones Foundation will assist underprivileged elementary and pre-teen girls who are facing the challenges of today’s society, where dreams are never realized and talents are being wasted. My mother knew that love of family, persistence, hard work and a good education would ensure success in life. She also knew that there are many life lessons learned that are not taught at school. Her dreams for us, as we were reminded often, were to become good citizens and to be able to give a helping hand to someone along the way. Living up to our potential was solely our responsibility. We understood to be something in life much effort is required.
I’ve become sadden over the recent years about the direction of our future mothers. Our little girls could face fewer obstacles and more possibilities if they had more positive parental and community involvement. Parents are the first teachers and the first line of defense. Unfortunately, their absences of knowledge and negative community influences have left a void in this group.
When I was a teenager, in the early 1990’s, I faced some of the same pressures as teenagers today (sex, drugs, peer-pressure, lack of self-esteem, etc.). Without the echoes of my mother and aunts voices, I could have easily traveled the wrong road. Even at that, sometimes my choices left me with negative consequences, hurt feelings, and being snubbed by my peers. Good teaching is life-long learning. I’ve had a blessed life (in spite of some negative choices) and I have a great opportunity to touch a little girl’s life through the efforts of the foundation. “Keep your dreams alive and never become a wasted talent” is the motto of the foundation and if I inspire one little girl I would’ve achieved a sense of purpose.