Interview with James from the Kitsap Sun
This interview was taken at the coffee shop in downtown Bremerton. This is an open layout with great windows for the light to enter and tables along the walls at the windows and some in the middle of the room. The smell of coffee permeates the room and the low hum of different conversations along with the low contemporary music give the coffee shop a great ambiance and feel of being at home. This interview is between Paul Jose and James a columnist from the local newspaper the Kitsap Sun.
Tuesday, October 8th, 2024
James: Today we have one of the local business owners that is making a difference in this community. He has worked with the Coffee Oasis and other organizations that help the young people of our community. “Welcome, Paul good to talk with you again.”
Paul: Thank you James it is a pleasure to see you again.
James: I see that you are still drinking your coffee black with none of the extras that so many people use to augment the taste of the coffee.
Paul: I enjoy a cup or two each day and have since college. I learned that black coffee is easier to grab if it is black with no extra, then I could get to my early classes quicker.
James: So, Paul I wanted to take some time to talk with you about how you have been helping the youth in our area. I know that you have lived here for many years and have worked in several different careers. Now that you have slowed down a bit and are not working full-time on your businesses I have heard of your work in the community.
Paul: yes, James I have enjoyed living and working here in Kitsap County and the many areas that I have worked in. Moving here 44 years ago to raise a family and live near my father and father-in-law. I have always had a heart for the young people here in Kitsap.
I found this as a need many years ago when my Pastor at PFLC asked me to teach the junior high school kids. I had never thought about teaching and especially not the kids in jr high school. I did say yes and that started me on this journey to help these kids. I realized that these kids were probably the most misunderstood people around. It seemed that nobody wanted the job of trying to keep the kids in line. Through the years of teaching, I came to understand what kids want and what they need as they grow into the adults that we would love to have around us. Several of the kids are now in their mid to late 30s and have kids, families, job responsibilities, and the things that we all go through as we move through life.
James: That is some great background, Paul. So you did not start with kids until this point in your life? What is it that keeps you coming back to working with these kids after all the years?
Paul: Well, James, one of the first and most important lessons that I learned from the kids is that they only need to have someone that they can trust and talk with. If you probably remember those tough years when it seemed like you could not do anything correctly. All the kids that I have helped just really wanted to be sure that I or someone would be there when they needed to talk, just talk to figure out what was happening in their brains. Puberty, sex, whom they like, and who likes them. Things that as an adult I had forgotten. Today we also see many of these kids struggling with their own sexuality. Who they are at their core.
James: Wow, I never thought about the struggles once I moved on to adulthood. So, Paul, what keeps you coming back, and how do you have the energy to be able to be there for these kids now when they need the help?
Paul: James, I found something about 10 years that has continued to help me with the vitality that is needed to continue helping. I had an issue with my heart about 12 years ago, remembering what my dad went through when he was in his 60s. That supplement also had an added benefit that has helped me not only have the energy at 73 but also to have some income that keeps my life secure in my retirement. I had used my retirement to help keep my late wife living for many years and thought that I would be just living on the checks that the government sends each month.
That is not as important now that I have worked to help the kids that needed help. They are a blessing to me and I know that I have been a blessing to each of them. Several have stayed in touch, and I am now a second or third PAPA to their kids as well as my own.
My goal over the last 19 years was to leave part of myself with each of my kids and grandkids. The part that I wanted as my legacy was simply to spread the news that these kids, where ever they come from and whatever their beliefs or orientation, need to have a safe place in this world. They are all children of God and deserve to be treated that way.
My mission is to help these kids find the reason that they were put on this earth to be. To find their bliss, the thing that makes their heart sing. Second, is to teach that all are welcome, and all have a place at the table of life. That we do not leave anyone out due to their color, education, sexual orientation, language, or where they came from. All are here today, and all deserve the attention that they need to move into their becoming. Their authentic selves.
James: Thank you Paul for your wonderful insights and your drive to help our community.