This month, the L.A. Sentinel Religion section debuts “Champions of Faith,” a column about highlighting ordinary people inspired by their faith to make a difference in the community. In recognition of Women’s History Month, L.A.-area women will be featured during the month of March.
What is your name and what is your ministry?
I am Dr. Kathye D. Jenkins. I am the founder and president of the Cynthia Perry Ray Foundation, a nonprofit community-based outreach of the Gardena Valley and Vicinity Ministers’ Wives and Ministers’ Widows Sisterhood Connection.
We envision a society where all can see their true potential as socioeconomic and cultural leaders at the forefront in the community, which can be hard to do when ones’ health is not the best.
What is the mission of this ministry?
Since our founding in 2001, our mission has been “Empowering Clergy Wives to support disenfranchised communities, youth, senior citizens and those in need with food, clothing, educational instruction and information on healthy, spiritual and sustainable living and be a resource for those in need of housing in L.A. County.”
Our health and wellness goal is to educate, engage and empower faith leaders to create health education partnerships with health professionals, policy makers, health and human service providers, and community advocates. We also offer health related classes at community centers, group homes, health fairs and conventions.
What role has God or your faith played in your ministry?
I follow God’s blueprint as I go along. I can’t and won’t do anything without God and putting Him first in EVERYTHING I do. Taking the words of the psalmist, “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
There’s so much more at stake, and we can’t afford to not do well. We want to build lives, homes, churches, and a culture that will reflect God’s glory long after we are gone. We want to leave behind a model of godliness that people will choose to embrace in the next generation.
What is one of the most memorable moments during your ministry?
In January, we held a conference for women called “Sistahs Can We Talk” at Charles R. Drew University of Science and Medicine with a special session for teen girls called “Developing the Sistah Super Girl in You.” A capacity learned from speakers who emphasized taking charge of our health with prevention and treatment. State Senator Holly Mitchell and Mayor Tasha Cerda also attended. Plans are already in the works for next year.
What are you working on now and in the future?
We have been working successfully and collaboratively in disease education, prevention, treatment and survivorship including the train the trainer sessions. We want to eradicate health disparities on our communities.
In April, we will hold an Awards Musical Luncheon where we recognize community advocates, present scholarships to deserving students and then unveil our annual health awareness campaign. This year, our health awareness is Sickle Cell Anemia. In May, we will host “Brothers Talk Too” with Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas leading the discussion on men’s health issues.
How can others help or get involved in your ministry?
Our new training class schedule will be available soon and we can train you in order to educate and train others on prevention and treatment on several health-related disparities. We can also come to your place of worship or meetings regardless of size and provide training and education classes at no charge. Advance notice is required.
Our email address is [email protected], or call us at (310) 531-8942 or (310) 567-4231.