Jubilee Center Featured on Oprah Winfrey Network

Reporter: Melinda Zosh

Lynchburg, VA - The Jubilee Family Development Center in Lynchburg got some national recognition on the Oprah Winfrey Network last week.

They were featured in a 90 second spot as part of the Dollar General's year long campaign called, "Honoring Our Everyday Heroes."

"It's priceless that someone believed in me when I didn't believe in myself," said Sheldon Anderson, a Lynchburg native on OWN.

"Usually in his situation most kids end up dead or in jail," said Sterling Wilder, executive director of Jubilee Center.

Anderson called the streets of Lynchburg home for more than a year.

"My legal troubles are really what pushed me in Sterling (Wilder's) arms," said Anderson in a phone interview.

Two weeks ago, Anderson shared his story with the producers of OWN.

"The cops was running behind me. I remember it clear as day," he said.

"He called us up, he said 'I'm sick of my life. I'm sick of running from the police,'" Wilder said.

Anderson says he found a safe refuge with adults at the Jubilee Center and eventually traded his street life for the halls of the University of Virginia.

"Part of me being at UVA was having a dream to go from that environment and come to this environment, it really is a blessing," said Anderson.

The Jubilee Center opened in 1999. The next year, Wilder met Oprah in person.

"One of the producers from the old show remembered us and mentioned it to the producers of the new show (called) The Next Chapter," Wilder said.

That's where the 90 second piece spotlighting Wilder and Anderson aired last Wednesday.

"We're really proud of Sheldon," Wilder said.

"They can be like 'we know where he came from; he made it,'" Anderson said on OWN.

"Regardless of your background, regardless of where you come from you can achieve," Wilder said.

Oprah gave the Jubilee Center $100,000 in 2000. Cash like that helps provide things like after school tutoring and GED training for adults.

Learn more about the Jubilee Center.