Serving the community since 1970

Marcus Ballard works to make a difference

Marcus Ballard is an inspiring leader who is both an educator and assistant pastor. He is a shining example of someone committed to building a brighter future for the community of Wasco.

Ballard has been a teacher for 10 years, now teaching 6th grade at Palm Avenue Middle School.

As a teacher, he said, "I hope to inspire, motivate and be a role model to my students. Not just in education, but in life."

He was born and raised here, and he graduated from Wasco High School in 2003. Afterward, he attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, earning his bachelor's degree in business and economics in 2008.

In 2012, he completed his master's in religious studies from Wake Forest University in North Carolina. He then moved to Florida and married his fiancé, Jenna, in 2013.

There, in Florida, he embarked on his career as an educator and said he was inspired to be a teacher by his wife.

"Her passion fueled my passion to go into the world of education. I've always worked with young people. I was a youth pastor for many years but never an educator. Seeing my wife's passion motivated me to get in and become a teacher in the public school system."

In 2015, Ballard returned home to Wasco, where he continued to work as a teacher at Teresa Burke Elementary School. In 2020, he became assistant pastor at New Generation Church.

"Ever since I was young in Wasco, I've always felt the calling to be a pastor one day. Most people dream of making a lot of money or being a professional athlete. My dream was to be a pastor."

At the church, he is involved in the community in many ways. The biggest one is community outreach. "I always try to see where I can help the underserved – o give back and help out everyone here in Wasco."

Some of the projects he supports and spearheads include the Wasco Community Revival, which aims to foster unity among churches through prayer and worship; the Loving Our City event, which seeks to convey the love of God to the city primarily the children and youth; and the Thanksgiving Community Meal, which provides a hot meal to those in need during the holiday season.

Another project close to Ballard's heart is the annual Juneteenth celebration he helps host with three other African American congregations: True Light Missionary Baptist Church, Apostolic Faith Temple Church and Macedonia Church – God In Christ.

"Juneteenth is a historical day commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in this country. It's a national holiday in which we celebrate, recognize and honor the contributions of African Americans in this country and this town."

"This celebration in Wasco is critical to preserve the town's deep history and never let the next generation forget the importance of it."

He loves Wasco. "I see that Wasco is not the same as it used to be. However, I see the potential and good coming. Ballard said, "That responsibility for change starts with me."

"Generational leadership is what has kept Wasco growing, and now, in Wasco's timeline, the baton of leadership is passed to my generation. It's the responsibility of people like me to keep Wasco thriving."

Ballard is a proud father of two daughters, Eliana, 4, and Emerie, 2. He said he balances work, volunteering and home life through prayer and Christian devotion to God. His goal is to make Wasco a better place not only for his two little girls but also for the next generation of leaders to come.

 

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