Five questions with: Damon Jiggetts, executive director, Peter Paul Development Center

Peter Paul Development Center (PPDC) seeks to educate children, engage families and empower the East End of Richmond community. Under the leadership of executive director Damon Jiggetts, PPDC has expanded its outreach, strengthening the connection between children, families and their community.

We caught up with Jiggetts to learn more about PPDC and his work with the organization.

What is Peter Paul Development Center’s core mission?

Our mission is: To support the neighbors of the East End and educate its students, equipping them to serve as positive contributors to their families, community, and society. Our purpose is to educate the child, engage the family and empower the community.

Can you characterize the extent of the problem locally?

Generational poverty is the problem. Systems, cultures and structures of poverty continue to persist, making access to progressive resources and equitable opportunities an extraordinary challenge for many of our children and families.

What don’t most people realize or understand?

That most of our families want more for themselves and their families and that most of them have the ability to experience relative success. A child does not inflict poverty upon himself, he is born into it. Removing these obstacles to relative success are very difficult to mitigate given the absence of equitable resources and opportunities.

What kind of work do volunteers do to help PPDC?

Under normal circumstances, our volunteers tutor, mentor and participate in an array of projects to support the organization like clean ups, landscaping, etc. During COVID 19, our volunteers have supported our families with gift cards and monetary contributions for groceries, assistance with bills and other essentials.

If $100,000 fell from the sky tomorrow, how would you spend it?

I’d hire project managers or consultants to assist us with a couple of key projects that we currently don’t have the bandwidth to complete. Our response during the pandemic has become our priority, yet the projects we have on hold are very important for future organizational opportunities.

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