One local pastor saw a lot of great potential going to waste and decided to do something about it. Raymond Young has ministered at Greater St. Paul Christian Fellowship for six years. During that time he saw a lot of kids slipping through the cracks and not getting the full benefit of a college education. “I go by what I see,” said Young. “Something needs to be done and I’m doing it.”

What he is doing, is everything possible to get Orange County students the help they need, to further their education. “I see so many kids with potential, but they may not have the resources or initiative to get there. Some of them need to be taken by the hand,” he said. 

Young has done more than that. Recently, he personally, took six West Orange-Stark seniors to Southern University in Louisiana.

They received a tour of the campus by the college recruiter. Several hours were devoted to the boys. They visited  the computer lab, athletic department, the entire campus. Talking to students, they received a good idea of what college life was like.

All six of those boys, Chris Bundage, Dorian Hardin, Warren Dorsey, Xavier Adams, Donald Brown and Matthew Provost have filled out applications. Quite a turnaround from not planning to attend college or putting it off.

Young said the money for school is out there in grants and scholarships, some students just aren’t getting the information.
Southern is an agriculture school and there are lots of high paying jobs in that field according to Young. He says most students have a misconception about everything agriculture encompasses. They think it is only about working on farms. “Nobody wants to go to school to learn how to milk a cow,” said Young.

This year was not Young’s first to get kid’s interested in school. Last year, Southern came to the church. They will do so again in March on a date not yet determined. Plus, Young plans on “gassing up the church bus” in April and hopes to bring around 30 juniors and sophmores to the Louisiana university. He said most people think of Southern as a black college, but they are mistaken. “They didn’t see all black kids; there were white, Hispanic, Indian, Pakistani, there is a great diversity in culture there.

“They’re just one of the universities we are working with,” said Young.

He said some of the students just don’t receive the information they need, don’t know about financial options they qualify for. He said all he had to do was pick up the phone. The university was excited help and has lots of scholarship money and other financial opportunities in agricultural fields.

“If it is not available,” said Young, “then we need to come together and help fulfill this need.”

“It’s a whole different world, today. There is great promise for tomorrow,” Young said and he is doing everything he can to fulfill it.

Some of Young’s role models are Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy, men who looked out for humanity and not just one specific group of people.

He hopes students will think about college at an earlier age, it is easier to get financial aid in place when not waiting until their last year of high school. Later, he plans on working with middle schools. He wants every child in Orange County to have the opportunity to receive a college education if they so desire.

Young and his wife Rhoda have four children, Dorian, 14, Raymond Jr., 12, and twin daughters, Raven and Robin, 18 months.

Greater St. Paul Christian Fellowship is well over a hundred years old and its current location is at 1704 14th St. in Orange.

To contact the church for more information, call (409) 886-2054.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.