Among the skyscrapers of downtown Newark is a small establishment that has become a community fixture.
For over 30 years, Source of Knowledge has served as the city’s local bookstore, reaching out to its neighborhood, especially children, as a source of direction and hope. He nurtured children mentally and physically, helped establish writing careers, hosted open mic parties and seminars, and even performed a wedding ceremony there.
NJ.com earlier this year featured the company as part of its Black in NJ series.
Now the store is in the running to receive $ 25,000 from Mayflower, which honors “inspiring and impactful organizations” that embody “compassion, courage and the will to make a difference.”
Dexter George, who founded the store after immigrating to the United States from Tobago in 1982, is confident he will make the money and already knows what he will do with the prize.
“I want to buy a bus and have Source of Knowledge on wheels,” said George. “I would go to all the schools and take all these books to give to the kids – that would be the best thing for this community. “
George is not a stranger to them. Before the coronavirus hit New Jersey, George and his business partners, Masani Barnwell, his wife and Patrice McKinney ran a Read and Feed program several times a year with the help of local donations to provide literature and meals. free to children under 18 who have visited the store.
“The real goal is to provide for our children, they are our future,” said George, father of six. “I love my family, I work for my family but my family is also the community and I work for them too.”
George encourages the children he speaks with to be compassionate and humble, but also to stay true to their roots and culture, never to be ashamed of striving to be better for themselves and for others.
“I ask them to always have both hands open – one for giving and one for receiving – because you can never receive if you cannot give,” thought George.
The Tobago native pays tribute to the survival strategy of his family, who grew up on the island. His family searched for food, received second-hand clothes, and struggled to survive before George emigrated to New York. Harsh conditions have never been an excuse to justify the wrong path, he said, adding that he was not one to dwell on the negative aspects of life.
“I see them as life lessons,” said George. “Divine order always happens, this is the way of the universe and this is how we should all live.”
As a child, George barely remembers anyone reading a book to him. He became curious and always asked questions and motivated children to do the same. He urges them to take charge of themselves and hopes that with the additional funds, he will be able to lead today’s young people to become entrepreneurs.
“The word ‘cannot’ should never be in the dictionary,” said George. “This attitude can get stuck in your mind, take over your state of mind.”
To vote for Dexter George, please do so on The Mayflower website. To help his business continue to operate, please do so at the store GoFundMe page.
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Nestor F. Sebastian can be contacted at NSebastian@njadvancemedia.com.