A distinctive degree program and family connections led Jalonna Jones to choose Huntington University as her college. She graduated from Huntington in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in educational ministries and a concentration in family and children’s ministries.
As the elementary coordinator for Discovery Land, Jalonna is part of a ministry involving 1,200 children at Appleton Alliance Church in Appleton, Wis. She personally ministers to more than 300 third through sixth graders weekly. Her responsibilities include writing curriculum, coaching leaders, organizing events and leading programs.
“My interactions to date have not brought me across the path of any others in my field who have a similar degree,” she said. “Many of them have more generalized ministry degrees. I am grateful that HU offers this distinctive degree.”
Jalonna points to her PRIME experience as the most significant off-campus opportunity she had at Huntington. PRIME, or Practical Research and Immersion through Ministry Effectiveness, is a seven-month internship that all Bachelor of Science ministry majors must complete. Jalonna was placed at a church of 3,000 people in Carlsbad, Calif.
As part of her experience, she helped lead a one-month trip to Egypt that included assisting with a children’s ministry conference and a sports camp. At the church, Jalonna worked with a preschool through sixth grade children’s ministry, leading and coaching volunteers as well as teaching children.
Through Huntington University, Jalonna also participated in a mission trip to Atlanta, Ga. The team of 20 students organized and distributed food through a food pantry, and Jalonna also had opportunities to work with children.
“During the week, we were exposed to real-life in downtown Atlanta, getting to know the homeless and listening to real-life stories,” Jalonna said. “This was a great bonding time with my team as we traveled together, worked together and shared the Gospel together.”
Practical experiences and liberal arts courses gave Jalonna a strong foundation for her ministry.
“Throughout my four years at Huntington, there were times I took certain classes for granted, not recognizing their full potential,” she said. “Life is much like a puzzle, with every piece in that puzzle being critical to the big picture. My education at Huntington was well-rounded, pulling the puzzle together. From courses in curriculum development to relationships in ministry to Bible to evangelism, I had the opportunity to not only learn but also apply what I was learning through projects, small class interactions and internships.”
While Jalonna continues to apply what she learned in her courses, she also reaped the benefit of another Huntington distinctive – personal relationships with her professors.
“It was such a blessing to have the opportunity to walk into my professor’s office and not be just a number to them,” she said. “They knew my name and what my ministry passions were. They knew how I thought and what my struggles were. Through this, they were able to teach and train me in ways that were best for me. Beyond my schooling, they cared about who I was … not just why I was there.”
Huntington offered Jalonna numerous opportunities to grow spiritually. She credits her family and church with giving her a solid spiritual background that she could build on during her time at HU.
“I believe my college years were very formative educationally and spiritually,” Jalonna said. “My friendships, resident assistant mentoring experiences and exposure to an even broader Biblical worldview helped strengthen and solidify my faith even further. In a world of relativistic thinking, it is critical to make sure that our worldview is deeply grounded in the Scriptures. HU helped me go even deeper in this aspect as I learned.”
Jalonna would strongly encourage anyone interested in family and children’s ministries to consider Huntington University as their college choice.
“If you are looking for a place that will prepare you to change your world for Christ and also give you a quality education that will prepare you for your profession, HU is the place for you,” she said. “You will definitely be challenged in the three most important areas of life: your head, your heart and your hands.”
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