Pastor Rose Howard
Dr. Vanessa Weatherspoon
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Thank you for your interest in the Joseph C. Howard, III Scholastic/Artistic Award fund. I am Pastor Rose Howard and I established this award in memory of my son, Joseph C. Howard, III, who died tragically in a car accident at the age of 12 years old on December 26, 1997.
Joseph affectionately known as “Jo-Jo,” was a very humble Christian youth with an unquenchable passion for the medium of visual arts, particularly sketching. For years leading up to his death, Jo-Jo showed great promise as an artist. He even sought to reflect his personal relationship with Jesus Christ through his extraordinary artistic talent. His greatest inspiration was another family artist, my younger brother, Louis B. Anderson, Jr., who spent several hours each week helping Jo-Jo perfect his craft. It was not unusual for Joseph to periodically induct new members into our family in the form of his own created action figures and cartoon characters. Other talented artists who inspired Jo-Jo included his 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Yolanda Burton, a god-uncle, Elimu Baraki Lenard; a church member, Wanda Shaw, and a famous Christian artist, Henry O. Tanner.
Jo-Jo made a public acknowledgement of his faith when he joined Union Missionary Baptist Church at the age of eight. Joseph followed up his faith with baptism by his pastor, Dr. Charles C. Martin, Sr. I realized very early that my son had genuine zeal for the things of God. I nurtured Jo-Jo’s spiritual development through impromptu Bible study sessions (often held in the middle of my living room floor), and through church activities. Joseph’s faith was also nurtured very early in life, as a kindergartener at the Southport Private School where the nursery director, Mrs. Eva Fields or the nursery teacher, Mrs. Pat was often found praying with him. When Joseph reached elementary school age, I decided that the faith-based environment offered in a Christian school would best serve his spiritual growth. I enrolled him in Fellowship Christian Academy where he not only excelled academically, but also as a Christian ambassador in and beyond the school setting leading unsaved children to Christ.
Jo-Jo evangelistic efforts continued through his participation in the Children and Youth Ministries at the Union Missionary Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. He was a member of several ministries; the children’s choir, youth steppers, youth ushers, and praise dancers. He was also involved in numerous outreach efforts that included service to the elderly and homeless.
Needless to say, Jo-Jo’s death was devastating for all who knew and loved him. However, I was not completely aware of the impact he had made in the lives of so many through his artistic talent. Countless pieces of his artwork have passed through the hands of people whom he never had the opportunity to meet. He was known by friends of family members, and family members of friends as the fun-loving kid with a talent second to none. Recognizing the power of God through this “ripple-effect” acquaintance with my son’s talent and character, I prayerfully considered a means to further preserve Jo-Jo’s memory. The answer to my prayer would come in one of my fondest memories of Jo-Jo’s compassionate spirit.
Jo-Jo, with a concern for the poor was always moved to do something about it. In Jo-Jo’s fourth grade year, he and his cousin, Farron, and a few classmates sought to raise money by selling several pieces of his artwork to fellow students for twenty-five cents and fifty cents. All money raised was sent to the charity of their choice. I was not aware of their entrepreneurial adventure until dozens of items had been sold (many pieces I saw only after his death). That was the Connection! Through Jo-Jo’s commitment to developing his God-given talent and his desire to use his talent to bless others, God revealed that Jo-Jo’s memory would be best served through financial provisions for children, 1st through 6th grade who would attend a Christian school, and/or children’s art school .It was within three months of Jo-Jo’s passing that God revealed this concept for the financial award fund you now know as the Joseph C. Howard, III Scholastic/Artistic Award.
Jo-Jo’s artwork continues to positively, and yes, spiritually impact the lives of hundred of people (and that number grows daily). Both people who knew him well and many who did not know him personally have connected to his spirit through his exceptional talent. My prayer, as Joseph’s mother, is that the same immeasurable devotion he had to his gift, his family and friends, will also manifest in the lives of the young scholars and through the talents of the young artists who benefit from the Joseph C. Howard, III Scholastic/Artistic Award fund. Moreover, I pray that each child’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ will be the guiding force that leads them to fulfill their greatest potential, which is God’s ordained purpose for their lives. Amen.
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JO JO POEM |
JOJO's HOBBIES AND MINISTRY WORK |
2011-2012 Recipients Of The JCH Fund |
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