News: Changing the Cycle: NIOC Texas Sailor puts a Spin on Mentorship
SAN ANTONIO - Respect, Obedience, Love, and Leadership (R.O.L.L.) Models is a community-supported leadership experience, founded in San Antonio, Texas by, Navy Information Operations Command Texas (NIOC TX) Sailor Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class Sharron Dante Jones.
This unique activity-based group teaches youths to respect themselves and the community, obediently follow the principles that guide their lives, and lead others by modeling the behavior they wish to see.
Growing up in a single parent home in a community that lacked positive role models, Jones valued visits with his father who took him on bicycle rides in their hometown of Indianapolis. During these rides they often came upon others in need and Jones, with the help of his father and brothers, would always stop and help.
These bicycle rides taught him and his brothers the importance of service to others and how teamwork enhances that service.
In 2010, after moving to San Antonio, Jones carried forward his childhood pastime of bicycle riding and took his then 10-year-old daughter on rides around the neighborhood. During their adventures, he observed that many of the children in nearby low-income neighborhoods encountered the same issue that plagued children from his childhood: they did not have positive role models to guide them in life.
Jones recalled how much his childhood bike rides taught him about service and how much of an impact his father had on him as a positive role model. He began to open the rides to other local youth, realizing the potential to affect the community through positive mentorship. For Jones, it was time to change the cycle.
Thus, the R.O.L.L. Model program was born.
Founded on the namesake’s four keys tenants of Respect, Obedience, Love, and Leadership, R.O.L.L. Models is a unique opportunity for youth to learn life lessons while participating in activities that involve rolling, like bicycling, skateboarding, or roller-skating. Since its creation in 2010, Jones has led 300 youths, ages 5 to 18, logging over 350 miles in San Antonio.
Ultimately, Jones envisions the group as support system for children throughout San Antonio to conquer their specific hardships and realize their true potential.
“Once you conquer your fear and gain your balance, you can achieve anything,” said Jones.
Since its inception, R.O.L.L. Models has collaborated with local non-profit organizations to promote a healthier and more active community and disseminate the organization’s message of mentorship and service. Through participation in local events like the YMCA’s annual SICLOVIA bicycling festivity, a citywide event that transforms San Antonio’s streets into a car-free haven for bikers and runners, Jones hopes his organization can continue to expand and influence in a positive way.
The group’s first shore-based ‘Tiger Cruise’ is also in the works, a cycling event that will partner the group’s young members with other Navy Sailors from NIOC TX on a ride through San Antonio in hopes that the kids will “gain a better understanding and appreciation of the Navy, its traditions, and the unparalleled camaraderie that exists between Sailors,” said Jones.
He hopes that many local Sailors will join forces and support this cruise in order to foster positive community relationships and mentorship.
Jones continues to prepare himself, his organization, and the community for success. He recently completed a Command-sponsored leadership course and has participated in the Navy’s Drug Education for Youth (DEFY) program for 10 years. Jones found ‘his groove’ in mentorship and continues to apply his skills to the R.O.L.L. Models program and in leading his Sailors.
Through all of his efforts, Jones has shown that he holds true to his beliefs and insists that if everyone lives their lives in “a quest to obliterate fear and ignorance… we can harmonize with others.”
Through this mantra Jones continues to foster a community of positive role models for our youth while excelling as a leader and mentor in the U.S. Navy.
For more information on how you can start your own local chapter of R.O.L.L. Models, see their Facebook page ‘ROLL Models SATX.’