If you believe that people are never given more than they can handle, then you and Pamela Mines have something in common.
From their home in Chesterfield County, Mines and her husband, Perry, offer mentoring services for young folks in need. The Mines founded the business in 2005. It was near that time when doctors for their son, James, then 14 months old, reported that he wasn’t hitting developmental milestones.
J.P., as he’s affectionately called, later was diagnosed with autism. “I think God chose him to be differently abled, and he handles it with grace,” his mom says. “Now I’m the parent of a child with special needs because God thought I was strong enough to handle it too. Now, it burns a special advocacy in my heart.”
Fast-forward to today, and Luv’em Like Mines, the couple’s mentoring service, provides at-risk and special-needs youth with positive role models in the form of mentors. Participants take advantage of high-school equivalency preparation courses and learn independent living skills.
Many of Mines’ clients are children with special education needs, like her son. So who better to understand and provide for those pupils than the parents of one, Mines says. “Our message here is that we’re here going through the same things as the parents of our clients,” she says. “We understand.”
Mines also has written and published a book — illustrated by her daughter, Michelle — chronicling the experience of raising a child with autism, called “God Chose Me.” And she organizes the JP Jumpers Autism Walk, proceeds of which benefit the Autism Society of Central Virginia. As member of the board, Mines helps raise money to provide autistic children scholarships to attend summer camp.