When the National Public Broadcasting Service airs a program about your work, it’s a sign you’re doing something relevant. That’s what happened to John and Dolores Eads and their Light of the Village ministry in Prichard.
Back in 2001, John was leading a successful life with Dolores, when they felt a tug toward doing something different. John wasn’t sure what this “something” was, but he quit his job and Dolores quit hers. They started Light of the Village.
“My wife and I were both professionals; she a schoolteacher and me a hospital administrator,” John said. “First, we began a prison ministry, then realized Prichard was the perfect place. Alabama was really just meant to be. At first, we visited Prichard once or twice a month, then we felt really called upon to continue working here.”
The Eads now have four locations around Mobile. They hold a Bible study on Sundays at their Prichard location, followed by a breakfast where many in the community share stories. They have a teen night during the week.
“We have the candle program, which is for teens, where they can learn job skills and entrepreneurship,” John said. “We started this program, and really the entire ministry, because in our prison ministry we were hearing the same thing over and over again, ‘I wish I knew this when I was a kid.’ So that’s when it really stuck with us to make an impact inside the community.”
The Eads depend on donations and grants to fund their work, and the Alabama Power Foundation has answered the funding call several times.
“The Alabama Power Foundation has partnered with us for years and they have supported us in so many ways, not just with foundation gifts, but they have sponsored us to take the kids bowling and several other events,” John said.
While continuing their ministry during the pandemic, Light of the Village leaders and volunteers have had to adjust how they accomplish their mission.
“During COVID, when the laws had certain restrictions in place and we couldn’t meet person to person, we were still calling kids and making deliveries to their homes, checking up on them to let them know they weren’t forgotten,” John said.
Given the Light of the Village’s mission and history, there has been little to adjust to during the sweeping social justice movement across the country.
“With this racial stuff and social justice happening all over the country, we have already been doing what needed to be done. We have always treated people all the same regardless of their color or anything else,” John said. “It saddens me to see what is taking place. All people deserve a chance.”
For the Eads, ‘Light’ can always be found even in the darkest of places.
For more information, visit www.lightofthevillage.org.
Alabama Bright Lights captures the stories, through words, pictures and video, of some of our state’s brightest lights who are working to make Alabama an even better place to live, work and play. Award-winning journalist Karim Shamsi-Basha tells their inspiring stories. Email him comments, as well as suggestions on people to profile, at [email protected].