Sen. Jones honored by pastors for work supporting children, families

LANSING—Members of Shepherding the Next Generation (SNG) presented Sen. Rick Jones with the 2014 Fellowship & Stewardship Award at an Honors Breakfast in Lansing on Tuesday. 

Jones was recognized for outstanding fellowship shown to Michigan’s children and families through support of proven programs that help prepare the next generation of family and community leaders.

“I am truly honored to receive this award from pastors and ministry leaders who are dedicated to strengthening our families and communities through education,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I have long supported early-childhood education programs that have a proven record of benefitting both students and taxpayers. By better ensuring that children are prepared to learn, we can help improve a child’s chance at success and also reduce the number of students who need to repeat grades, which can save Michigan taxpayers millions of dollars each year.”

Pastor Chris Carter, youth pastor at Northpointe Community Church in Dewitt and an executive committee member of SNG, presented the award.

“Shepherding the Next Generation’s member pastors are pleased to acknowledge the work of Senator Rick Jones and present him with our Fellowship & Stewardship Award,” said Carter. “It is in recognition of his support for our children through funding of quality preschool for eligible 4-year-olds in Michigan. This program is essential to prepare the next generation of community leaders.”

The effort to fully fund the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) – Michigan’s state-funded preschool – was spearheaded by Gov. Snyder, who indicated in his State of the State address that he wanted to make Michigan a “no-wait” state for preschool.  The governor was also presented the Fellowship & Stewardship Award for his collaboration with lawmakers to increase the GSRP by $130 million to provide access to high-quality preschool for all eligible 4-year-olds.

Shepherding the Next Generation – Michigan is part of a national nonprofit membership organization of evangelical pastors and ministry leaders who are committed to strengthening families and communities by strengthening the next generation.

According to SNG, “For young children, early education can help lay the foundation for future academic and social success. For many children at risk, their parents cannot always afford quality early education programs and the surrounding circumstances often take priority over a parent ensuring their child is ready for school. As a result, too many disadvantaged children start school already behind their classmates in early math and reading skills. They often lack the social skills needed to follow teachers’ directions and get along with their peers. These problems can create a pattern of failure that lasts a lifetime. High-quality early childhood education can give at-risk children the strong start they will need in school and in life. Research of the Perry Preschool in Ypsilanti shows that, among participants in the program versus those not in the program, high school graduation was significantly higher, students graduated on schedule and had higher incomes. This adds greatly to individual, family and community stability.

“Further, the programs save valuable taxpayer dollars though substantial savings produced when successful students are less reliant on social welfare or involved in the justice system.”