Teens' bridge to success is SWU student's passion
When he was working as a volunteer with the city of Charleston as a recreation supervisor, Eric Jackson saw a need among the teens of Charleston and surrounding areas.
Jackson, a human services student at Southern Wesleyan University’s Charleston education center, wanted to help teens who were at a disadvantage socially, economically and academically. Out of that desire he founded R3 Inc., a nonprofit organization that offers educational programs, fitness programs, life-skills sessions and community events to inspire teens in the Charleston area to become productive, self-sufficient and positively active citizens in society.
“The name for R3 Inc. means ‘Real Talk, Real Action, Real Results.’ We are dedicated to helping our teens develop valuable foundational life-skills as they work towards a promising future,” Jackson said. Also on the organization’s staff is his wife, Kimberly Perrineau-Jackson, a 2009 master of science in management graduate who serves as chief executive officer.
R3 Inc. serves as many as 80 students with tutoring and recreation programs at the city of Charleston’s Shaw Community Center. The Jacksons are strong believers in education as the only way teens can attain success in life. After school, teens go there for homework help and to access powerful online resources such as Kahn Academy. The center also has a gym where they can get involved in sports. They also participate in real talk sessions where they can talk with caring adults about their concerns. In addition, outside speakers visit to share their extraordinary stories of success.
H.O.O.K.S. (Help Overcoming Obstacles to Keep Striving for Success), one of the many programs offered by R3 Inc., teaches the importance of good health and wellness. Whether it’s a walk across the Ravenel Bridge or jumping rope, the program offers teen’s positive fun-filled activities that promote healthy lifestyles. They plan to enter a group in this year’s Cooper River Bridge Run. They also are working with the city of Charleston to help with recreation. R3 Inc. is involved with promoting lifeguard training and certification to address a shortage at the city’s municipal pools. “With enough staff, the pools can increase their hours, offering youth more alternatives for outdoor activity. It also gives a teen honest work for honest pay,” Jackson said.
R3 Inc. continues to make connections with many local establishments and individual supporters. “A lot of kids come from single parent homes. We need the support of all communities to carry out our mission of providing resources to the teens in our service areas,” he added.
As a working adult balancing family, his job as an equipment technician at Roper St. Francis Hospital and involvement in R3 Inc., Jackson appreciates that his professors at Southern Wesleyan are also in the working world and understand the challenges of juggling so many responsibilities with their studies.
“Everyone knows everyone and has the same goal in mind – being successful adults. Everyone knows what’s going on,” he said. Jackson also appreciates how organized the program is and how easy it is to talk with his classmates and professors as he works through assignments.
To learn more about R3 Inc. and their programs visit www.r3inc.org.
For details about SWU’s undergraduate and graduate programs for working adults, visit www.swu.edu.
Southern Wesleyan University has regional education centers conveniently located across South Carolina. Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community devoted to transforming lives by challenging students to be dedicated scholars and servant-leaders who impact the world for Christ.