'Dr. B Joy' Honored for Work with Mothers Group, Inc.
University of Oklahoma-Tulsa Human Relations professor Dr. Brenda Lloyd-Jones (affectionately known as Dr. B. Joy) has been honored with the 2018 Paragon Award for her work with The Mothers Group, Inc., a nonprofit that Dr. Lloyd-Jones co-founded in 1988.
The Paragon Award recognizes Leadership Tulsa members who exhibit outstanding leadership and commitment to local nonprofit organizations in the Tulsa community. The Mothers Group, Inc. is an organization composed of women who are committed to enriching the lives of children through educational, cultural and social initiatives.
One of The Mothers Group’s most widely recognized events is the Santa Community Project, which Lloyd-Jones created in 1989 after overhearing a child ask her mother to be taken to another part of the city to pose with Santa for a photograph. The Santas were not only at locations that were far from the child’s neighborhood, but they also were white, so Dr. Lloyd-Jones suggested that The Mothers Group host a black Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Rudisill Library in north Tulsa. The event was so successful that it outgrew the library, and is now held at the Greenwood Cultural Center.
This year the Santa Community Project will be Saturday, Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to noon at Greenwood Cultural Center. It is free and open to anyone.
Literacy is fundamental to the mission of The Mothers Project, so each child who visits Santa and Mrs. Claus will receive a new, gift-wrapped, age-appropriate book. While children wait for their complimentary photo op with Santa, performers from local schools and community organizations entertain visitors.
“Over the years, I’ve noticed Santa Community Project participants come from diverse backgrounds,” Lloyd-Jones said. “Also, children’s letters to Santa suggest youngsters with compassionate hearts. For instance, they wish for an ill relative to return home from the hospital by the holiday, a lost pet to be found soon, or a parent to hear good news following a job interview.”
Dr. Lloyd-Jones says that volunteers for The Mothers Group return year after year to help with the project and some of the original members’ adult children are now volunteering. “I would like to genuinely thank all parents and guardians who have taken time from their busy schedules to spend precious time with their children at the Santa Community Project over the years. Creating family time nowadays can be somewhat of a challenge, given our rushed lifestyles,” she said. “Research indicates that an increase in family time enhances the opportunity for families to strengthen their bonding and shared values.”
For 29 years, The Santa Community Project has been providing children with a treasured visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus as well as supporting a connection to reading. “Books provide wonderful opportunities for girls and boys to develop a love for and a proficiency in reading,” Lloyd-Jones said. “The longevity and consistency of their outreach is an extraordinary accomplishment.”
Children are invited to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus, receive and complimentary photo and a free book.
Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, 9 a.m. – noon
Greenwood Cultural Center, 322 North Greenwood Ave., Tulsa
Free and open to the public
Cash donations to purchase books may be mailed to P.O. Box 702915, Tulsa, OK 74170-2915.
For more information or to donate new books, go to http://themothersgroup.org/