[sws_picture_frame30 src=”https://bloomfield-garfield.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/community-members-bob-jones.png” title=”” alt=”Bob Jones” align=”sws_frame_left” lightbox=”” album=”album” video=””] [/sws_picture_frame30]
Bob Jones grew up in Garfield Heights, a now-demolished public housing project, with little hope and no male role models. When he became a father at the age of 13, he realized he had to start changing his ways or risk becoming a statistic. “I had no clue about taking responsibility or how to be a man,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He credits his mother with helping to keep him off the streets – and football. He played at Fort Pitt Elementary school and Peabody High School before going on to graduate from college. After returning to settle in Garfield, Jones and his childhood friends Tony Walls, Melvin Gay, and Garth Taylor founded Garfield Youth Sports, a football and cheerleading program, with the help of the BGC. Jones told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that BGC Executive Director Rick Swartz advised him, “Don’t worry about the money. Let’s worry about structuring the program, getting some good people. The money will come.” Today, the program combines after-school mentoring and tutoring along with sports. And the effort has paid off: In 2011, three of the group’s five youth sports teams won championships in their age brackets.