Friends of "Babe" James is a 501c not-for-profit, located in New Smyrna Beach, FL. The mission of the Friends of "Babe" James, Inc. is to provide financial and other types of assistance, such as (but not limited to) program development and or funding, recruitment of volunteers, and scholarship opportunities for program participants to organizations in the New Smyrna Beach, FL area. Friends of "Babe" James sponsors multiple programs for the Alonzo "Babe" James Community Center, that serve "at-risk" youth and children from low-income families.
Dr. Patricia James Gray, a native Floridian, spent most of her youth in New Smyrna Beach, FL, graduating from High School in San Francisco, CA. She received her BA in Mathematics from Florida A & M University, Tallahassee, her MA Ed. in Administration & Supervision from Tennessee State University-Nashville, and her Ed. D. in Urban Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Throughout her 47 year career in public, private, and corporate education, Dr Gray taught Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus. She worked as a Senior Education Specialist and Product Analyst in Information Systems for Hospital Corporation of America. After nine years in the corporate world, Dr. Gray returned to her first love; teaching high school mathematics. During her tenure in the Northern California School District, she climbed the educational ranks from to Mathematics Teacher to High School Principal, moving up to the Executive Director of High School Principals, and retiring as the Assistant Superintendent in the San Francisco Unified School District.
Dr. Gray left California to retire back home in New Smyrna Beach. During her early years of retirement, she assisted her siblings to care for mother Montez James, until her passing in 2016. Dr. Gray enjoys gardening and playing MahJong with friends. Although she is in retirement, she is an active Board Member for the Friends of Babe James, and continues her life’s work of supporting at-risk youth in her community.
Owen and Joan Davidson both attended Baldwin Wallace College in Ohio, and moved to New Smyrna Beach in 1968 as school teachers and coaches. They had the pleasure of teaching and coaching with Montez James and the legendary Coach Babe James. In 1972, Owen established and directed the New Smyrna Beach Parks and Recreation Department until 1989. Following his passion he moved into the Director of Daytona's Department of Parks and Recreation until his retirement in 1995. Owen and Joan have lived and supported the westside activities over the years and looks forward to many more years of service to the community.
Sharon Adams is a Florida native who completed her graduate studies at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Early in her professional career, Sharon, started as a psychiatric physician's assistant and transitioned into a Professor of Psychology and a Dean at Oxford College of Emory University, Oxford, Georgia. In the early 1980's, CNN was establishing its roots in Atlanta, and Sharon was intrigued by the newness of Cable Television. Forming a friendship with Ted Turner, she opened her own consulting firm, in which she advised high-profile clients such as the owner of the Atlanta Falcons Football Team, The Mickey Mantle Foundation, and other National Leading Architects and Construction Firms. Sharon was an imperative adviser to many political campaigns and administrations of Georgia Democratic leaders such as; Andy Young, John Lewis, Mayor Shirley Franklin, Julian Bond, and Atlanta's first African-American Mayor, Maynard Jackson. Sharon's advocate work included taking on prestigious business club's in Atlanta to include blacks and women. Sharon is known for also championing many filings of EEOC employment discrimination charges against all major banks and targeting EEOC itself. She has been recognized as one of Ten Top Winners of Atlanta and The 100 Most Influential People In Georgia. She has been honored with Henry Aaron and Ted Turner by the Atlanta NAACP.
Karen Berkeley joined the Board of Directors in 2021. She is the founder and owner of New Vision Counseling & Consultation, a behavioral health practice, offering counseling, case management, and care coordination to individuals and families.
With over 10 years of professional experience in the medical and social service fields, Karen is known for her ability to work with and advocate for disadvantaged communities. Over the past four years, she has applied those skills to her practice as a licensed psychotherapist.
Karen’s professional interests are driven by her personal background and passions. As a New Smyrna Beach native and a product of the Westside, she was able to benefit similarly, from mentorship and scholarship services the Friends of Babe James seeks to provide.
Karen holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Central Florida and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Florida.
When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters
Veris "Mop Mop" Robinson is a native of New Smyrna Beach, FL and the Valedictorian of the 1967 graduating class of Chisholm High School, located in the Historic in New Smyrna Beach, FL. After High School, he attended Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL., graduating with Honors in his class and received a BS Degree in Business Administration.
During his career he has been an Air Traffic Controller, for Miami Dade County FL. Airports, an Adjunct Faculty in Mathematics at Daytona Beach Community College (now Daytona State), and worked at Sears, in the Volusia Mall, located in Daytona Beach.
Mr. Robinson loves helping others, is an avid reader, and a jazz enthusiast.
Native Floridian, born and raised in New Smyrna Beach, FL, Charles Woodard was a 1968 graduate of Chisholm High School in the Historic Westside, and a football player under Alonzo "Babe" James, in New Smyrna Beach, FL. He attended Daytona Community College until being drafted into the United States Army. After completing basic training, he was deployed to Germany as Supply Specialist. During his time overseas, he and his beloved wife Diane (deceased) traveled throughout Germany and all of Europe to places such as Paris, France and London England. After an honorable discharge from the Army as a Specialist , Charles worked for Commercial Credit Corporation as a Credit Counselor for 10 years, and specialized in helping families resolve credit issues. For the following 27 years, he worked for and retired from UPS (United Parcel Service). Charles is an avid walker with hobbies that include fishing, gardening, and tennis. Even more importantly, Charles enjoys helping people.
Born and raised in Alabama, Mary Jane Nettles is a graduate of The University of Alabama and Cumberland School of Law. Mrs. Nettles served as Volusia County Judge 1991 - 2011 and is currently has a private practice of law. In the past, Mrs. Nettles was very active in legal and community circles in Volusia County, which included, President of The Florida Association for Women Lawyers, President of Volusia County Bar Association, Board Member Central Florida Legal Services, Attorney for Seventh Judicial Circuit Guardian Ad Litem Program; Board Member for the New Smyrna Beach Police Athletic League, Member of Seventh Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, and Board Member Southeast Volusia Habitat for Humanity. Mrs. Nettles enjoys singing has been a Member of the Coronado Community United Methodist Church Choir and The Bel Canto Singers of Daytona Beach. She has been a resident of New Smyrna Beach for over 40 years. She has two children and a dog.
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