JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Darlene Johnson, chief executive officer at the P.R.I.N.C.E. Community Center on the Eastside of Jacksonville said she was given this vision in February of 2011.
"It was a vision from God. I wanted to help the kids and families in this community because no one was helping them," Johnson said. "I lived in the community and I had done a lot for the kids outside the center. So, I thought if I gave them a safe place to be in the evenings it may help with the crime and give them so hope."
With her life savings and with the help of some friends, Johnson purchased a building on North Liberty and turned it into a place where the people in this community could come to get away from crime and drugs.
"They just need a hand up," Johnson said.
Not a hand out. At the P.R.I.N.C.E. Center, those in need can use the computer lab to get help with their resumes, find for jobs, sign up for food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare and bring their kids in for after school tutoring...
"It's truly a blessing. It's truly a blessing," Johnson said.
She said they've partnered with second harvest and they feed about 300 families a month.
The center is open seven days a week from nine in the morning until five in the afternoon.
But Johnson said she needs help.
"I think all the support that we can get at the P.R.I.N.C.E. Center will improve the lifestyle of the families in the community."
Darlene Johnson is our "Hero Next Door."
"It makes me very happy, I feel blessed," Johnson said. "I think I'm doing what I've been called to do. I'm just trying to be obedient and do that."
Johnson said they're in need of volunteers and donations at the P.R.I.N.C.E. Community Center. If you'd like to do either the number to call is 904-232-8753 or 904-520-8666.
First Coast News