Bernie and Donovan Jones are the heart and soul of the Jones Safe House. Both of them were lucky enough to learn one of life’s greatest secrets at an early age – that service to others brings you immense happiness and fulfilment. Happiness that is tangible whenever you enter the Jones Safe House.
Providing a safe place for those in need has been a constant thread throughout their marriage, with their family home re-arranged on a regular basis to accommodate a steady stream of temporary guests. Donovan established a successful career as a builder while Bernie raised their 3 children, and, happy to share their good fortune, their service to the Ocean View community continued.
When Father Strebel of the Catholic Church opened the Immaculate Heart Foster Home in Kommetjie in 2006, Bernie and Donovan, both faithful Catholics, volunteered their time to assist with the maintenance and running of the Home.
After the death of Father Strebel, Bernie and Donovan left their affluent lives in Ocean View behind and moved into the Home permanently to continue operating it. When the Church sold the property a few years later, it was unconceivable to the Jones’ to just abandon children that so desperately needed them, and they convinced the new owner to allow them to stay.
The Jones Safe House was born, and in spite of the daily uncertainty over how to meet running costs and when they would be asked to leave, and in spite of Donovan’s aversion to asking for help (which he is slowly getting over!), they have never looked back. More than 100 broken children have been loved back together at the Jones Safe House.
Bernie and Donovan have given up a comfortable retirement and their life’s savings to keep the Safe House in operation, but instead of feeling as though they have sacrificed, they know they have been richly blessed. To see a child who has endured unimaginable abuses healing, laughing, and learning to love and trust again is, for them, the greatest treasure on earth.
Their easy affection and respect for each other is all too evident, and they provide the children with positive examples on which to model their own future relationships – a valuable gift to children for whom the term “dysfunctional family life” is a cruel understatement.
Bernie and Donovan are a rare kind of people, quietly performing miracles every day in Kommetjie. They deserve our support.