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Reuben Jones

Place of Residence: Philadelphia

Why He’s a Game Changer: Jones was in prison serving a 15-year sentence when he fought for and won custody of his son. When he got out of prison, he started Frontline Dads because he knew how important it was for men to take responsibility for their children.

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“Many times men will say it’s too late to be a Father to their children. Well, it’s never too late. No matter what, every child, every human being wants to be connected to where they came from,” Jones told the Examiner.

Frontline Dads helps men develop communication skills to better guide their children. The group is also targeting young kids who are on the verge of getting in trouble. The goal is to keep those young people from becoming involved with the criminal justice system.

And that’s obviously a difficult task.

Young people are more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system if they have parents or close relatives who have been incarcerated.

“If we are not there to teach our children and be role models, then you better believe that there will be someone on the corner who will. Only they will teach them about stick-ups and dope packages.

“Boys need men to teach them how to be men.

“If they only have negative role models, then that will be their frame of reference. They will think that negative role model is what a man is supposed to be.”

Jones was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Black Male Engagement Project of the Knight Foundation and Open Society Foundation to continue his important work.

Jones originally filed his petition in prison because he wasn’t allowed to see his son, but even when he started seeing his son, he realized there was a lot he didn’t know. Parenting classes helped and Jones realized there were so many men like him out there.

“Some men coming out of jail have never even seen the child they are trying to connect with. They have to understand the anger and resentment that child has. They have to understand the emotional and spiritual needs of that child,” Jones said.

Jones is also a poet. Watch him spit some words below:

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