Faith Jones-Salaam receives 2017 Giant Award at Martin Luther King event

BALDWIN — Each year the Martin Luther King, Jr., Commemorative Committee hands out a Giant Award during the Martin Luther King Commemorative Program. This year, the recipient was Faith Jones-Salaam.

"We decide who receives the Giant Award based on those who make contributions to the community — to make it a better place. This year's choice is a perfect example," said Pastor Denise Suttles, coordinator of the Martin Luther King Commemorative event.

Jones-Salaam is the parent-liaison for Mason-Lake-Oceana Great Start Collaborative.

A native of Charles County, Md., she was raised by a single mother and other family members. Her family always encouraged her to do her best, according to her biography.

She graduated from school in Indian Head, Md., where she graduated in 1977. She enrolled in Bowie State University where she earned a degree in 1982 in early childhood education.

In August of l982, she moved to Michigan for an opportunity to teach second grade at Baldwin Community Schools.  She married Paul T. Jones-Salaam in 1984 and has two children, Rah’seem and Imani.

Jones-Salaam desired to further her education and enrolled at Central Michigan University, where she earned a master's degree in language arts.

In 1998, she was asked to begin a new career as principal at Baldwin, and since then she has been elementary, junior high and high school principal.

She said during that time she developed relationships with students, parents, teachers and community organizations, and it is her philosophy to support and treat each student and his or her parents as valuable patrons. Her motto is: Represent self, represent family and represent community with a true understanding that education is a key to human dignity.

In February of 2012 she began her new career as Lake County parent liaison with the Mason-Lake-Oceana Great Start Collaborative. She provides parent workshops and facilitates workshops concerning children’s literacy and strengthening families. Also in this line of work she is a voice for parents and gives guidance about resources in the community.

She continues to work with families with young children because it is her passion and she believes in supporting families, she said.

She also was asked to join the faculty at Ferris State University in the curriculum development department as an instructor in the fall of 2012. Since then she has helped more than 300 freshmen strengthen their reading skills, providing a variety of reading strategies to help them succeed on the university level and offer encouragement.

In her spare time, Jones-Salaam enjoys spending time with her family and friends and loves traveling. She is looking forward to being a grandmother.