Salvation Stories

Coach–Counselor–Mentor

Demetrious Marlowe lives out his concern for others by mentoring young people at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Camden, NJ

Demetrius Marlowe is blessed to have two callings merged into one enormously-satisfying job.

For Demetrius Marlowe, fulfilling God’s call to mentor kids and young adults is important both on and off the field. For many years, Demetrius worked two careers simultaneously—athletic counseling and preaching. But once he came to the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Camden, New Jersey, God provided a way for him to combine both roles into one enormously satisfying job.

Raised in a Christian home, Demetrius looked to his parents for his example of a strong faith in Christ as well as a resilient work ethic and a consuming concern for the welfare of others.

“My childhood friends were Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Protestant,” Demetrius explains, “and they diversified my world view and gave me an appreciation of the various ways people live out their faith.”

As a young man Demetrius excelled in sports. After high school he joined the soccer team for his four years at Pfeiffer University and graduated with a degree in Psychology. During college, Demetrius was blessed with another mentor—his soccer coach, Mel Mahler.

“Coach Mahler believed in my potential for leadership. He challenged me to stay the course in completing my degree and to be of help to those around me,” Demetrius says.

After completing those years at college, his heart longed to help others. When he left Pfeiffer, Demetrius pursued a career in social work. He went to work as a residential year-round camp counselor for the Eckerd Family Alternatives group.

“The Eckerd program received kids who were placed, usually by the juvenile court, in our wilderness camps to learn life skills and how to properly live with others while making progress in school.”

An opportunity to both coach and return to his education came from his college coach, who had moved on to Bowling Green State University. While on the coaching staff there, Demetrius returned to the classroom for a graduate degree in Higher Education Administration. One of his graduate internships was in the university's Office of Drug and Alcohol Education.

“That experience allowed me to interact directly with students, administration and community officials and greatly impacted me in my desire to serve others,” he says.

Demetrius went on to become an academic counselor for athletes at a string of some pretty impressive schools: Notre Dame, Syracuse, Maryland, Michigan State and North Carolina State.

It was during his time at Michigan State that Demetrius felt God’s strong calling to preach the Gospel. He and his wife Alison were attending the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church. There his pastor, Rev. Rodney Patterson, ordained Demetrius as a minister.

Demetrius is a member of the praise and worship team at the Camden Kroc, NJ Corps.

Is there some way I could combine both passions—preaching the Gospel and working as an athletic counselor? Demetrius wondered.

That answer came while Demetrius and Alison held ministry positions at Urban Promises Ministries in Camden, New Jersey. There they met Mark Morton, who happened to be the program director and corps sergeant-major at The Salvation Army’s Camden Citadel Corps.

“They were nearing completion of the Kroc Corps Community Center and Mark encouraged me to apply for the position of recreation manager,” Demetrius says. “That was the answer to my prayer!”

Today, Demetrius is both a pastor and a coach to hundreds of kids and young adults at the Camden Kroc Corps Community Center. Alison is the PlayCare coordinator and also serves as a leader for Sunbeams and Girl Guards.

Demetrius and Alison are true soldiers of the Camden Kroc Corps.

“We are thankful everyday to walk in the Kroc center to serve the members and staff here,” he says.

“Despite the struggles and challenges, our lives have bee truly blessed. It is our prayer that our work through The Salvation Army is a testament of our faith!"

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