WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A West Palm Beach non-profit dedicated to helping students in crime-ridden areas using the arts has a new home. Faith’s Place got their start in Pleasant City nine years ago. Two years ago, they almost lost it all, but the founder of the program Noble Mays says she refused to stop the music.
Noble Mays says in 2019 she decided it was time for Faith’s Place to find a new home. She says crime in the area was getting worse and there was a shooting nearby Pleasant City Elementary where Faith’s Place marching band practiced.
“I turned the corner and he’s lying there,” Mays recalled. “There were 37 shell casings on the floor, and I grabbed his hand and I felt his body go from warm to cold.”
That moment gave her a feeling of determination, to give her students more. Then a global pandemic.
“We kept calling and I don’t change my vernacular for anyone so you can tell that I look the way I sound, so in certain buildings we were turned down,” Mays said. “No one wanted to see us.”
Persistence, faith, and a big donation led them to a gated facility on Australian Avenue.
Noble said she could finally sing a song of relief and the nearly 200 students in her aftercare and marching band program could continue to learn the arts.
“We want them to be able to let their gifts pay for their schooling,” she said.
“It’s like magical,” Alonna Ward explained.
Alonna Ward earned a full-ride scholarship to Florida A&M University and is now in their marching band.
“Looking at it from the outside you see it’s amazing so imagine being on the inside,” she said. “It’s like wow this is great.”
High School senior Jordan Mongo would use the words ‘life saving.’
Probably just messing with the wrong people, probably in juvie, I don’t know where I would have been,” he said.
Today he is graduating with a 3.1 GPA and offer to play at Florida A&M University.
“I feel like I can do this,” Mongo said. “I just got to keep praying to God that I can get through this and just keep using Faith’s Place to help me as an outlet.”
As for the Marching Lions, Mays says she’s just getting started.
“I rock with them, they rock with me, we rock together, we rock away.. that’s a dance (laughs),” Mays said.
For more information on Faith’s Place visit https://www.faithsplacecenter.org/.