Friday, October 21, 2011

I’d rather have kids detailing cars than selling drugs.”

Stanton's Kevin Jones teaches doing 'Business in a Bucket'

Urges teens to sell detailing, not drugs
The inner-city is often characterized by its harsh truths. These include but aren’t limited to, its claim to poverty-stricken neighborhoods, spurts of violence and civil unrest, academic underachievement woes; and an unemployment rate that’s elevated far beyond “high enough.”
Adding insult to injury, city and state officials across the country seem to have accomplished little to set the wheels of change in proper motion for inner-city residents.
In spite of all those challenges, as the saying goes, “every cloud has a silver lining,” even ones as ominous as those above areas like South Central Los Angeles, Watts and Inglewood.
Kevin Jones, 40, likes to think of himself as that silver lining, when it comes to helping young teens beat the odds. The New Orleans native has created the concept Business in a Bucket, that he believes is among the resources that can provide teens with a quick and easy way to make money, despite America’s stressed economy.
The aptly named item is just what it sounds—a bucket complete with the necessary means to start a business.
“It’s a starter kit by all means,” Jones cautioned. “But it’s more than enough car care product's to get working on a car.”
More specifically, the big blue bucket contains high-quality soap and wax, auto dressing applications, and standard washing and polishing rags—the essential materials needed to professionally detail a car.
Also included is Jones’ handbook, “The Owner’s Guide to Auto Detailing,” which illustrates the approach one should take when washing and detailing cars for profit. The book offers 58 car-maintenance tips in all, and includes this little-known fact in bold print: “Do not use dish soap to wash your car.” (It leaves streaks, notes Jones).
“I could have written a thick old book. But ain’t nobody gonna sit down and read something that long,” Jones teased. “It’s only 35 pages. And it’s detailed quite simply with instructive illustrations.”
The Orange County resident credits his knowledge of automotive care to his childhood mentor “Mr. Moses.”
“I was about 13-years-old, when he found me hanging out on the corner in (New Orleans) Louisiana,” said Jones. “He asked me: are you going to just stand here all day?” After that, I got in his pick up truck, and he took me down to his auto-detailing shop, where I learned the business.”
The two remained close until Hurricane Katrina severed their connection in 2005. Jones had already moved to California (in 1989), gotten married, and embarked on his own auto detailing business some 15 years prior. Immediately after the hurricane hit, Jones called his old friend but could not reach him.
“He [Mr. Moses] was alive then. So, I don’t want to say that he isn’t anymore. He might read this story one day and say ‘Hey, I’m not dead.’ I sure do hope that’s the case.”
Now a resident of Stanton with his wife and business partner Marva, Jones endeavors to impart the knowledge he received from his mentor to a wide range of minority youth. His most recent effort, an auto detailing seminar with participants in a Pomona Urban League youth program, was the start of a partnership he hopes will grow exponentially.
“I’ve been trying to reach the different community centers in Los Angeles with this [business in a bucket],” said Jones. The process has been slow going. But I’m not deterred. My thinking is, I’d rather have kids washing cars  than selling drugs.”

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