Harlem Young Men President Drives Youth to Seminary Daily

  By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News assistant editor

  • 31 July 2013

Article Highlights

  • Brother Darren Jackson moved to Manhattan to attend law school at Columbia University. He was called to serve as Young Men president in the Spanish-speaking ward in Harlem.
  • None of the young men in the ward had a way to get to early-morning seminary, so Brother Jackson began driving the youth himself.

“The car has been on a mission ever since it arrived in New York.” —Darren Jackson, Harlem 2nd Ward Young Men president

When Darren Jackson, Young Men president of the Harlem 2nd Ward, New York New York Stake, moved to Manhattan to attend law school at Columbia University, he was delighted to rent an apartment with a parking stall.

He didn’t need a car, but his parents had one that wasn’t being used. They offered to send the car to New York City. Brother Jackson agreed, not knowing how he might use the car in a city best suited for public transportation.

Then he was called to serve as Young Men president in the Spanish-speaking ward in Harlem. Many of the young men in the ward came from single-parent homes; none had a way to get to seminary.

He began driving the youth in his ward to early-morning seminary.

He also used the car to transport the youth to activities and youth conference. 

“The car has been on a mission ever since it arrived in New York,” he said.

Each morning, Brother Jackson gets up at 6:00 to drive to the homes of the eight young men in the area. His car holds only four youth at a time, so he makes two trips, picking up young men, driving them to seminary, and then going to another neighborhood to do the same thing. 

“It is an hour-long [process] every morning,” he said. “We use the opportunity to talk about their lives.” 

Bishop Alvaro E. Gamez said the effort is making a difference.

He said the young single adults in New York City have amazing testimonies. “They are willing to serve and live the gospel right here,” Bishop Gamez said. “That is really a blessing to the ward.”

From Brother Jackson, he said, the youth are learning the importance of seminary. More important, he said, they are learning the importance of service.