History

Paula Martin Jones was dedicated not only to her family but also to families in her community and the welfare of all children. After her untimely death in March 1990, her love of life and dedication to community as well as her humanitarian efforts are remembered under the foundation bearing her name.

The foundation was funded by the R.S. Martin family and has acquired several properties over the years to provide a campus for services to children. In April 1990, the YMCA and Harrison Street preschool were purchased. The preschool was later incorporated as the Longview Child Development Center. The former First Lutheran Church campus was purchased next in 1998. In 1999, the YMCA recreational facility was donated to the city of Longview. Two duplex units and connected acreage were acquired in 2004.

The acreage was developed into the R.S. Martin, Jr. Center for use by the Boys and Girls Club of Gregg County. The center opened in 2005. In 2007, a facility in Kilgore was renovated for the Boys and Girls Club in Kilgore. The Kilgore club opened in 2008. In 2009, one of the duplex units was opened for use by the Children’s Advocacy Center as “The Martin House”.  In 2014, the former Lutheran church facilities were remodeled to serve as an annex for the Boys and Girls Club to serve students in grades one through three. The campus is also used to support the local delegation of Special Olympics, the East Texas Lightnin’.

In September 2015, Martin Charities began the planning process for the creation of an out-of-school time educational campus for young people and their families called Thrive360. Realizing the strategic potential of a common vision and collaborative partnerships with neighboring non-profits and organizations such as, the Longview Child Development Center, the Boys and Girls Club, Buckner Family Center, Longview Police Department and Ware Elementary School, Thrive 360 seeks to create a campus that assists parents to “build strong children” in the four spheres of life: intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual.

Thrive360 is an independent, non-profit 501(c)3 organization, whose programs are Christ-based in keeping with the vision of Martin Charities to serve kids in a Christian context.

Thrive360 currently serves students in sixth through ninth grades with an after-school program called Beyond the Bell360, held at the ROC at First Baptist Church that has both academic and athletic components. Chapel360 is offered on from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. Friday for second and third graders attending the Boys and Girls Club, in the club annex. Summer Strength360 gives young people in grades six through twelve the opportunity to engage in strength and conditioning activities and fitness training during the morning hours, led by mentors who will also engage them in teaching and character development. In the afternoon, youth learn basketball skills and techniques in a fun and interactive environment, led by local basketball players and mentors. Citadel360 offers CrossFit training on Saturday mornings at CrossFit Citadel. Once construction of our gym on the Paula Martin Jones campus is completed,the program will be offered weekdays as well. ROC360 is our spring basketball league, with two seasons: January to mid-March and early April to the end of May.