John Braxton claims he’s been there and done that. The former drug abuser told the story of how he decided to turn to God for assistance in getting his life back on track.
Braxton, a former recipient of drug intervention services, went on to become an ordained pastor–spurned by a newfound devotion to help others. Along with local groups Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP), Inland Behavioral and Health Services, and San Bernardino County’s Department of Public Health, Braxton is aiming to help south Colton’s low income residents receive basic health care and living services.
“I can relate to what she or he is going through,” Braxton said. “I’m not here to condemn, but to help.”
About 20 nonprofit and county agencies will be on hand Saturday at Veterans Park–providing services ranging from haircuts to health screenings. The park is located at 290 E. O Street.
Residents who attend will be provided a free hot meal; children will have access to art and recreational activities. The event begins at 10 a.m.
Braxton, the Assistant Pastor at the Church of Fire in Grand Terrace, held the first “Community in Unity” event at the city park last month, after relocating from San Bernardino. He confirmed the event will be held every last Saturday of the month until further notice.
The 53-year-old San Bernardino native began his outreach efforts back in 2013 at the Meadowbrook Apartments–directing residents to social services, while also helping tenants resolve eviction cases. He and his wife Katie have plans to turn “Community in Unity” into a nonprofit.
According to last year’s San Bernardino County Community Indicators Report, approximately 65,000 low income residents in the region suffered from mental health issues. And despite the report’s indication that more than 83 percent of people have access to a health provider, Braxton insists more needs to be done to help.
“There’s a huge need for services in that community,” explained Braxton. “We’re thankful the city has been cooperative in allowing us to help their residents. We feel this city has been forgotten.”
Councilman Dr. Luis Gonzalez, who represents the south Colton area, is optimistic about the Braxton’s partnership with the city and local agencies.
“This is one of the most effective outreach programs I’ve been associated with” he said. “This collaboration effort reaches out to people in their homes, and invites them to come to see what programs are available.”
For more information about Saturday’s “Community in Unity” event, contact Braxton at (951) 400-3298.