A dear friend to and a very special person in the lives of many Augusta children and teens passed away Wednesday: Pat Jones, director of the Augusta Youth Center in the old fire station building at May Park. She had been ill for a long time.
She had dedicated her life to assisting, loving, advising, teaching and being a role model for many thousands of Augusta's children for probably 20 years. She was a tireless wonder. "Miss Pat" was a marvel to watch at work and to know. She was both kind and stern, and well-respected by her peers, the local judges and deputies with whom she often had contact.
She was greatly loved and touched by the beautiful children she so wanted to see succeed in their education, their personal endeavors and their growth into adulthood. She stressed manners, respect for peers and adults, self-respect and perseverance.
SHE SHOWCASED children's talents, giving them many opportunities to share themselves with their parents and families through art, music and drama.
I have known "Miss Pat" for only a few years, and I truly was amazed at her vitality and caring attitude. I never heard her reprimand a child in a harsh voice. She always had time to correct and demonstrate over and over, if necessary, to make certain that the little one, or the older one, understood the problem, word or story.
She was patient, and as the kids would have said: "Miss Pat is cool!"
She will be missed by many whose lives she touched through the years, but she will be missed by me because she let me help her in many different ways. I promised many times to read or to work with the kids, but my personal health problems have kept me from doing all of the things I wanted to do there.
LIFE IS SHORT, as I was so sadly reminded of again Wednesday. I will gladly find a way to help the center by any means I can, but not just with a check, canned goods, or supplies. From now on, I will be there to read, to tutor and to assist in any classes that the center offers in the future - that is, if there is a future for "Miss Pat's" dream.
The center needs all our help, financial as well as physical. If everyone who was touched by her life and dream would only give back a little in her memory, the staff at the center and "Miss Pat's" kids will continue to have a great place to look into themselves and learn about who they are and what they can do, while loving every minute of the journey.
(Editor's note: The writer is an Augusta resident and a retired Richmond County teacher.)