Updated: Mar 23
We are incredibly grateful to be a part of the work God does in our youth! We want to take a moment to highlight one of our former students that was a part of our after school programs at our Neighborhood Christian Center.
Marcus Barksdale, at the age of 22, is currently a Research Civil Engineer for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center. We had an opportunity to talk to him about the role that the Neighborhood Christian Center played in his life, and where he is at today.
What years were you a part of our programs?
“My name is Marcus Barksdale, and I attended the Neighborhood Christian Center from third through seventh grade when I was a youth. The Neighborhood Christian Center is an educational program built upon the foundation of Christianity and Education.”
What have you been taught spiritually through Mission First?
“I remember clear as day when we would have daily devotions in the morning filled with
multiple songs of praise, scripture reading, and powerful and inspirational messages from
ministers from various places—truly motivational. In my opinion, the morning devotions were
essential for getting our fun filled, educational day started. There is nothing like starting your day off with giving praise to the most high before embarking on your daily journey, for God is
always first! The faculty, staff, and students of Neighborhood Christian Center never strayed
away from that message. The biblical teachings I received from this program helped me prosper in life. Proverbs 22:6 says, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’ The Neighborhood Christian Center definitely executed God’s words. Once our devotions and morning breakfast fellowship was completed, we would then transition into the classrooms where all students would have access to a supreme, quality education. In class, we reviewed what we already went over during the school year to make sure everyone was brought up to speed in case we forgot, or in some cases, did not learn at all. After everyone was on the same track, we began to learn new things that would help smoothen our transition to the next grade level.”
What was it like to be educated through Mission First’s programs?
“The program gave us a head start and braced us for whatever we might face during the
upcoming school year. If we had any difficulties grasping the lessons, the program’s volunteers, in conjunction with the teachers, stepped in and provided us with an understanding of the subject at hand. I can say that the extra assistance helped us all in more ways than the faculty could ever imagine. When it was time to have fun, we did so by staying physically active and taking field trips that would also be educational. This program had everything a young person would want to experience!”
How has Mission First played a role in where you are at today?
“Personally, the Neighborhood Christian Center played a vital role in the molding of my future
and the placement of where I am today. Spiritually, and educationally, this program had a lasting impact on me. Today, I am a Research Civil Engineer for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center and a proud alumnus of the legendary Lanier High School and Thee Jackson State University. This program exemplifies that one can do anything in life when they keep God first. When I faced difficulties in college, I always reflected back on the program principle of keeping God first because the education was going to work itself out. The Neighborhood Christian Center along with its faculty and staff is truly God sent. The people that work there are genuine about sharing two common goals: to feed God’s children His word and to provide them a fun, quality education. With that being said, I encourage any youth to attend this program especially if they need something from God, want to have a fun summer, and desire to learn and be the best they want to be in life.”