JLJ Vision Outreach

Toledo, Ohio

Story Overview

Keith Jordan’s passion for mentoring children developed out of his own experiences. Tempted by the street life, Jordan stayed away from drugs and gangs to have a successful career at the Ford Motor Company. Along the way, he volunteered his time and expertise to helping youth from desperate backgrounds avoid the same temptations.

As co-founder of JLJ Vision Outreach, an educational enrichment program in Toledo, OH, Jordan and his team teach self-discipline, life skills and academic skills to high school-age youth. With a need to work with young people outside of traditional school settings due to COVID-19, JLJ Vision Outreach had to transform its service delivery model immediately or risk abandoning the youth it had worked so hard to influence.

According to Jordan, the organization was “dead broke” when it applied for a PPP loan. Corporate dollars allotted for summer programs had dried up. After 20 years of service to the community, JLJ Vision Outreach was threatened with closure. Who would stay in touch and keep these young people accountable? Who would provide emergency groceries or housing referrals? Who would help ensure students were ready for school in the fall?

With the PPP loan in hand, Jordan and his 14 full-time employees who returned to work began re-building its outreach services using virtual strategies to ensure the young people of Toledo’s inner-city communities could find academic success, stability and personal growth during and after the pandemic.

These are not your average kids. They don’t have a centered place in their lives, particularly during a pandemic. When all of our grant money dried up, I felt like we were in danger of failing those who relied on us for stability. Thanks to the PPP loan, we never had to stop serving our community.

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