Some seven years ago, Snellville resident Skye Jones saw a co-worker in need, but didn’t quite know how to help.
“I was carpooling with a co-worker and she asked me one day if we could pick up her son,” said Jones. “He was 10 years old and had to be carried to the car, even though he was bigger than she was. She explained to me about his illnesses and told me of her troubles, how she wasn’t able to provide either of her children with what they needed. I finally understood why she seemed so stressed out all the time.”
Jones, who says she’s always wanted to help people, decided to establish a nonprofit that would help folks like her co-worker. And thus in 2013, Jones founded Skye Precious Kids, which provides resources to families in financial need who have children facing life-threatening illnesses and disabilities.
It is estimated that there are 13,000 children in Georgia living with a long-term disability or a chronic, incurable illness, and some 60 percent of those children are cared for by single mothers, placing significant financial hardships on families.
“When I was doing research on nonprofits, I saw that there weren’t a lot of organizations helping people who had kids with chronic illnesses,” said Jones, who grew up in Atlanta but graduated from Duluth High School in 2004. “I just thought that wasn’t fair, and that’s when I came up with Skye Precious Kids. I wanted to be that person who would give relief and give hope.”
With a background in the health care field, Jones is well acquainted with the suffering families with children that have chronic illnesses endure, with issues ranging from procuring medical equipment and supplies to paying an electricity bill. She said her “breakthrough” came two years ago when her own situation forced her to move back in with her parents.
“In 2016, God stripped me from everything I had,” said Jones, who is also a mother. “I had to move in with my parents and I moved out when I was 17. I prayed and prayed and God told me to focus on Skye Precious Kids. I didn’t know how that was going to help my situation and I didn’t know where to start. But things took off and things just started happening for me.
“It was then that I realized this is my destiny, this is my calling, this is what I’m supposed to do. So Skye Precious Kids is all I do.”
Skye Precious Kids, which is based in downtown Atlanta, assists approved families (after an application screening process) in three different ways.
• Precious Families provides short-term financial support for rent, food, utilities, gas and other necessities, working directly with medical providers, utility companies, vendors and other payees. It also helps with renovations to homes for handicapped accessibility and acquires stair lifts, wheelchair lifts, ramps and bathroom accessibility renovations.
• Precious Health aids with medical costs, including co-pays, deductibles, medications, medical equipment and supplies, treatment, therapy and skilled nursing and respite care. Jones said Precious Help “bridges the gap between what Medicaid and private insurance provides and what sick and disabled children truly need but their parents cannot afford.”
• Precious Minds offers children support to continue meaningful education while homebound with tutors, homework assistance, computers, assistive technology and scholarships for online courses.
Jones said Sky Precious Kids has helped 35 families in need over the last five years and she’s hopeful of doubling that number in 2019 alone.
“We’re growing so rapidly,” she said. “We offer help and hope to families all over Georgia and we hope to be able to expand beyond Georgia in the coming year.”
Fundraising is a critical part of Jones’ initiative and she’s been helped by sponsors such as Delta Dental, Greystone Energy Systems, Walmart, Publix, Target and Kroger, to name but a few. In addition to donations and other modes of funding, Jones said she’s always looking for volunteers to pitch in.
“We’re just trying to spread awareness,” she said. “The world is missing love and we want to touch hearts so we can all work together.”
For more information on Skye Precious Kids, call 404-478-9794 or visit www.skyepreciouskids.org.