Busbee Quarters is an area comprised of 50 family dwellings, 47 of which are occupied; there are approximately 70 children in the area. High crime, low income, high rates of illiteracy, low educational achievement levels and inadequate recreational facilities characterize the area.
Calvin Jones assessed the needs of the children living in Busbee Quarters and took it upon himself to take the first step in trying to improve their opportunities for a better chance at life. With no funding, no facility, no sponsors and no board of directors, Mr. Jones quit his day job and took on the Skill Day Center as his mission. With only the desire to help and the financial support of his family (wife and one working daughter), he began his crusade to provide hope for these children through improved education.
Mr. Jones created the Skill Day Center, an after-school, academic "safe house" for children living in Busbee Quarters. The Jones family volunteers their time every day to help the children with homework after school. Twice a week, they coordinate GED classes for area adults. In addition, the Skill Day Center serves as a distribution point for the local bread bank program and conducts sessions with motivational speakers to address social issues such as drug and alcohol awareness. Through a partnership with the Marion County Public Health Department, the Skill Day Center provides families and individuals with counseling sessions and lectures on health and hygiene practices.
Teachers report that the students are making better grades, that homework is being done and that the students are learning. With a homework assignment as the requirement to go to the Skill Day Center, many students actually ask their teachers for homework so they can go to the Skill Day Center after school. Mr. Jones has been recognized by the Ocala Police Department and the City of Ocala as a positive contributing factor to the decrease in crime and drug activity in Busbee Quarters.
After more than two years of service in Busbee Quarters, Mr. Jones opened a second center in Ocala in October 1996.