“Ending gun-violence starts with teaching young people the value of life,” says Justin Lockett, founder of the pending 501(c)(3) Jarrod M. Lockett Foundation. A native of Huntsville Alabama, Justin shares a very touching story on how his nonprofit came about.
Please Tell Us Your Name & The name of your business:
Justin Lockett & The Jarrod M. Lockett Foundation
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a graduate of Troy University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Florida Institute of Technology with Master of Science in Supply Chain Management. I work as a Procurement Agent for The Boeing Company while concurrently serving in the U.S. Army National Guard as a Transportation Officer.
Tell us about your business.
The Jarrod M. Lockett Foundation is a public non-profit organization serving the Huntsville, Alabama community, striving to decrease the potential for violence by meaningful community involvement, education, and service opportunities in efforts to provide safer environments for all.
Where did you get your idea or concept of the business?
I was inspired to create The Jarrod M. Lockett Foundation after the murder of my younger brother Jarrod M. Lockett. I watched him take his last breath and I felt his heart stop. There was no way that I could let his story be forgotten. My entire life he was who inspired me and now he will forever inspire so much more. The week of his murder, Jarrod was set to graduate from The University of Alabama Huntsville with a degree in Business Information Systems, something that he had been looking forward to for some time. I had the honor of walking in his place at his graduation and upon hearing his name called, I hesitated, but it was his calming voice that I heard in my head saying “We got this” and I knew that we would forever walk together.
I had every right to be hurt, to be angry, but I was inspired and motivated that the time had come for an organization that focused on decreasing violence in our community by teaching young people that they are in fact valuable. Anything that you value you are more likely to try and add value to, whether it’s working hard in school, the community, or simply making better decisions. Valuing of oneself leads to seeing value in others which decreases the likelihood of inflicting harm on someone else. See it’s not just saving a life from a bullet but also deterring young people from picking up a gun. We need to save both the lives of not only the victim but the perpetrator, by meaningful community involvement, education, and service opportunities that provide safer environments for all. The Jarrod M. Lockett Foundation educates the community about the effects of gun violence and how to properly have preventative conversations, engages the community with public forums to share stories of the effects of violence, and encourages trusting relationships between the community and the police. My belief is we should be that change in which we seek.
What has been your greatest moment of success?
I created a scholarship in my brother’s honor and awarded the first scholarship in 2013 to a graduating high school student, supporting their college aspirations. I took students on an educational visit to the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham Alabama. We also went to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis Tennessee. We have also had the experience of taking the youth to different sporting events. They have seen the Huntsville Stars, Atlanta Braves and the Memphis Grizzles. I am grateful for the continuous feedback from young people associated with the nonprofit on the impact it has made in their lives.
How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Marketing is done primarily through Facebook. Currently, we are gearing up for our Annual Christmas Toy Drive and Holiday event to provide support to children and families in need. We recognize there is often little room in the family budget for
necessities, yet alone holiday gifts. This event is very important to us, as it is a movement to uplift our community. We are asking for:
• A new, unwrapped toy (all ages)
• Clothing, shoes, and outerwear (all ages)
• Gift wrap, and supplies or
• Monetary donations
You can read more about this event and donations on our Facebook page. There is even video of last years Toy Drive Event. https://www.facebook.com/pg/JMLFoundation/videos/?ref=page_internal
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful business owner?
I’ve made substantial financial sacrifices in order to ensure that the non-profit is able to accomplish each of its goals.
What challenges Have you faced as a business owner?
Challenges that I’ve faced has been finding good and consistent volunteers to help administer the growth and sustainment of this organization. We are always looking for dedicated volunteers.
What is unique about your business?
We provide outreach, hope, and inspiration for so many so that they are able to see value in themselves which enables them to see value in others preventing violence in our communities.
If you had one piece of advice to someone wanting to start a business similar to yours, what would it be?
Research Research Research and make sure that you have a solid team and a plan. And no matter what don’t let any obstacles or failures hold you back from accomplishing your dreams. IT IS POSSIBLE!
How Can You Be Reached?
Facebook: Jarrod M. Lockett Foundation