JoVon Ray is a 17-year-old senior at Raytown South High School. He is off to a great start and working hard to score a successful finish. History is his favorite subject because he enjoys learning about the past. After graduation, he has his sight on going to college on a scholarship and majoring in journalism. His older brother, DelVon attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO, on a scholarship and received a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. He received his Master’s from Webster University in St. Louis, MO.
What activities are you involved in and how do you feel mentally and physically after participating?
I started off playing machine pitch baseball at 6 years old for the Boys and Girls Club. The positions I have played throughout the years are 2nd base, short stop, pitcher, and my favorite position is center field. I have been umpiring for three years for Sports America, KC Sports, and Midwest Sports Production. When I play sports, after a loss I think about the mistakes I made and how I could have done better. When we win I feel I did my best, so I’m happy. After a game, I’m tired and ready to go to sleep. Mom, Marisa shares: “before his games we pray and I give him words of encouragement to do his best. We discuss how to handle a game loss, talk about the mistakes and what they can do to improve for the next game.”
What does it means to be healthy… mind, body and spirit?
Staying active is how I stay healthy. I don’t eat the healthiest, I eat a lot of junk food and I don’t drink enough water. I could do better in those areas by drinking more water and choosing to eat more fruits and vegetables. It also means being able to communicate my thoughts. I listen to music to clear my mind. Having a healthy body consists of not being hurt in sports, choosing a better diet, and being careful of the things I put into my body, like not using drugs nor alcohol. So, having a combination of those things is how I keep a healthy mind.
Marisa, what advice would you give to parents about helping their child stay safe, productive and balanced?
Open communication is the key from the very start: They have to feel comfortable about coming to you about anything. Educate them about life in all aspects. Ask them open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no response about their day, their friends, and the things that are on their minds. Tell them how important they are in your life; tell them often how beautiful and handsome they are and show unconditional love. Remind them to pay close attention to their surroundings, because there are way too many horrible things going on. Lastly, hold them accountable and correct them when they are wrong, or make poor choices.
JoVon, in closing: Mom comes to my games, listens to my thoughts, understands my feelings, gives me a lot of good advice, enrolled me in extra learning programs, and helps me with my homework. I’m so blessed to have a mom like her!
Caption: Marisa (center) with sons, DelVon (left) and JoVon (right).