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Always about helping the children

A few weeks ago, I was introduced to Rev. Dr. Troy D. Truly Sr. I was interested about his work with families and children, and I wanted to know about him as well as Truly Ministries Inc.

As a retired Army veteran, Truly has been helping adults and children for years mentoring, teaching life skills and child development. Truly teaches at the Child and Parent Center, 3530A Manor Drive, in Vicksburg, which I was unaware of.

CAP has a contract with Truly, where he teaches parent classes — which are 15-week programs— at no cost to the community. Each Tuesday from 5-6:30 p.m. he meets with fathers, and with mothers on Thursday at the same time. After approximately six weeks he will bring the fathers and mothers together to help them communicate in the same environment.

Truly starts the program — with both men and women — teaching the ages and stages of child development, helping parents understand what they are learning from birth to early age. He provides handouts at his classes as well as homework for the parents to work on and bring back.

The second part of the program is focused on child and brain development, the parts of the brain that control emotions and memory, and teaching parents how behaviors are learned.

Children do remember and do learn behavior of parents earlier than you think.

The third part of the program discusses family moral values and rules. It also focuses on dealing with how to nurture your child and handling children through communication with the proper skills in a structured environment. It also focuses on dealing with stress and communication, two areas most people have difficulties with whether it’s between spouses, children, the community, etc.

Most people do not know how to handle stress, and then stress becomes the issue.

At the same location, Truly also offers a course on “Interpersonal Behavior.” The cost of the course is $15 per person.

He puzzled me for a moment when he said “Interpersonal Behavior,” and I said “what?” Truly chuckled, and replied “exactly.” This is another term for anger management.

However, most hear the word anger and the reaction is “yes I am angry.” When you say interpersonal behavior, most — as I did — will ask what does that mean, hence the attention of the person and being able to open someone’s mind to be able to communicate with them to understand why they function the way they do, why they do the things they do and why they respond the way that they do.

And the work by Truly, and his wife, Joan, does not just deal with adults. They also help with children.

Because of his relationship with the courts, in some cases they will reach out to Truly to give his input or involvement with the child for mentoring. In some cases of domestic violence, the courts have a form and could order the person who committed the violence to his 18-week program (15 weeks plus his Interpersonal Behavior course). This work is normally for less invasive cases (escalated arguing for example).

In cases like this, after approximately 12 weeks of class, Pastor Truly will ask about the household environment (spouse/partner, children).

At times, he separately brings in the spouse to hear their side and eventually, if feasible, brings them together. The person who committed the domestic violence, once completed will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Truly partners with four schools in Vicksburg for free after-school programs with parental consent. The mentoring programs include snacks and drinks.

Sometimes the school will give him a classroom or auditorium, but in some cases, he will mentor children during recess or study hall (at least this is what it was called when I was in school).

Truly has also, in the past, taken the children on outings, visiting universities, the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, and NBA Basketball games, just to name a few.

When asked how much does this cost, and why do you do these trips that are approved by the parents, Truly said it gives children more exposure and insight into what the future could be for them. The trips also come at no cost to the children or families.

He said there is no cost to the children because his organization, Truly Ministries, is a 501(c) 3 organization and it is their way of giving back to the community, and again “always helping the children.”

Truly offers Bible study to adults and children for free to learn the word of God through Truly Ministries where their motto is “where you matter no matter what.” They usually partner with churches to use the fellowship halls. In addition, Truly offers Bible study on Tuesday nights at the CAP Center after class starting at 6:30 p.m.

On Mondays, he speaks with women at Mountain of Faith Ministries from 4-5 p.m., discussing life skills and empowering them.

Truly spoke with a young girl one time, for three hours, years ago. He recently saw her and she told him he changed her life forever. She also said she had avoided any future trouble, had graduated school and was set to enlist in the military.

Truly said this kind of response is the reward to him and his wife, their “payment.”

Truly and his wife deserve to be recognized for their services in our community, as he said, “all it takes is a call.”

Personally, after spending time with Truly, he gave me things to think about. His ability to identify the issue, break it down and guide you through the stages of life is impressive and non-judgmental. Never too old to learn!

I shared with him some “stages” in my life and explained that unfortunately there was not a “Pastor Truly” available, or anything free, when I was growing up.

I had to deal with my early childhood when I was an adult. Lucky for me, I worked it all out, but some are not so lucky.

No one is going to come to your door and take you by the hand and make things happen. The world does not work that way. This community has many opportunities — which are at no cost — that we do not take advantage of. Sometimes mindsets blind us from seeing what is right in front of us.

Many in the community care, and there are others like Truly and his wife who want to help you from the heart. If you ask for help and you get a response of “what will you do for me,” say “no thank you,” and ask someone else. You will find the person with the heart you are looking for if you put the effort in it. Release whatever fears you may have and have the courage to ask; it may benefit you and/or your children.

You can reach Truly at 601-218-2631 or 601-218-1323.

Gina Hendrickson is a volunteer community columnist for The Vicksburg Post. You may contact her at ginahendrickson12@gmail.com.