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Our Mission

The mission of The ARK is to provide a safe space that nurtures and fosters personal development, community, and growth for citizens of Jackson, MS through creative arts, sports, fitness, education and other programming. Our vision is to provide leadership that results in area restoration and transformation by investing in the people and communities of Jackson and surrounding areas. That investment is facilitated by providing participants with the programming, resources, exposure, and information needed to become the best versions of themselves, while contributing positively to the community around them. Built on values of faith, family, community, growth, impact and vision, The ARK utilizes a community model with designated community areas of programming structured to positively impact its participants. The ARK is and will be, “A Place Where Everything is Community and Community is Everything,” as well as “A Place Where There is Something for Everyone.”

Our team


Ronnie Crudup, Jr.

Founder, The ARK
Executive Director/Administrator, New Horizon Ministries, Inc.

Representative Ronnie C. Crudup, Jr. was born and raised in Jackson, MS. He is a graduate of Murrah High School and Belhaven University. A committed family man, Rep. Crudup is married to Andrea Crudup and together they have 3 beautiful children. Rep. Crudup and his family reside and work in Jackson where he is Executive Director of New Horizon Ministries, Inc. and a Mississippi State Representative for District 71.

Representative Crudup, a dedicated public servant, activist, and pastor has shown commitment to the work of restoration and transformation for the people of Jackson (and beyond) for over 10 years. He has been a strong advocate for better infrastructure and roads, economic development and job creation, affordable housing and blight removal, public safety and criminal justice reform, youth development, as well as quality education. He organized the New Horizon Ministries food pantry during the height of COVID and the water distribution efforts in Jackson during the water crises. Representative Crudup has also been a strong advocate for the next generation. Rep. Crudup had a major hand in the creation of the Faith Scholarship in the State of Mississippi, which gives full college scholarships to current and former foster youth.

Representative Crudup is responsible for fundraising and reopening of the Hertz swimming pool in South Jackson that was closed for three years. His team successfully staffed and ran the pool for five years. Most recently, Crudup is responsible for fundraising and the building of a new sports complex in South Jackson called The Ark. This recent venture is a testament to Crudup’s commitment to community health, youth empowerment, and economic development in south Jackson. 


“They can come in [and] have a great time. The kids know when you come here to The Ark, it’s a safe place where you can enjoy yourself."

Dr. Adrianne L. Swinney

Executive Director/Administrator, The ARK


Dr. Adrianne L. Swinney, a Jackson native, is a gifted visionary, problem solver, servant leader and change agent who seeks to bring about positive transformation and impact to the people and places around her. It is her heart of service that has led her to serve in the role of Executive Director/Administrator at The ARK. In this role, she strives to help establish operational, systemic excellence that leads to transformational educational, competitive, and community programming for The ARK participants.

Dr. Swinney has spent the past 20+ years of her career in college athletics, most recently serving as the Chief Operating Officer (COO)/SWA of the University of Connecticut (UConn) Athletics department. Adrianne boasts a unique career path having served as a certified athletic trainer, head basketball coach, and as an athletics administrator. She also served as a member of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors as the National SWA appointee, as a member of the Women Leaders in College Sports Board of Directors, and as a member of the Board of Directors for ADs for Christ. She is no stranger to executive leadership and service whether in the public sector or non-profit ranks.

Dr. Swinney returned to Mississippi in May 2021 and with great enthusiasm, she is glad to be back home serving others and making a difference in her community.


  • Provine High School 

  • MS State University (B.S. in Education)

  • Dallas Baptist University (M.A. in Management)

  • Jackson State University (PhD in Educational Administration)


“I can remember when this was just a vision in our heads…a raw, bare warehouse. To see it now is a testament to God’s goodness and favor. It’s a privilege and a responsibility to serve others. We are making a difference here with this place. The best is yet to come! Stay tuned!”

Daryl courtney

Chaplain, The ARK
Minister & Motivational Speaker


Daryl Courtney is a native of Jackson, MS and a proud graduate of the Jackson Public School District. Raised just blocks from his collegiate alma mater, Jackson State University, Daryl never thought it was possible for him to receive a college education growing up. Impacted by poverty and a misdirected childhood, Mr. Courtney took to a life of gangs and dealing drugs at the young age ten years old. At the age of 19, Daryl encountered transformation in his life as a result of surrendering his life to Jesus. He traded his lifestyle as a gang member and drug dealer for a lifestyle of ministering, mentoring, and guiding others in the community to a better way of life. He also traded his "reality" in the streets for his "dream" to earn his degree. Daryl earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work and uses his education and testimony to help others pursue their educational goals and dreams.

As a persuasive communicator, public speaker, and relationship building expert, Daryl is certainly an asset to The ARK, its members, and the community it serves. As a Community Outreach Advisor, he specializes in connecting the surrounding neighborhoods and communities. As the Chaplain, he is here to motivate, encourage, and strategically guide our youth, parents, and families in various facets of their lives, of utmost importance, spiritually.


  • Jim Hill High School

  • Jackon State University (B.S. in Social Work)


"I am extremely enthusiastic about being a part of The ARK and impacting the community and the citizens of Jackson, MS!"


Charles Lewis

Director of Basketball Development, The ARK
CEO/Founder, The Development Academy (TDA)

Coach Charles Lewis is a native of Jackson, Mississippi, and a proud product of the Jackson Public School District. Charles has been a visionary, committed and dedicated to youth development and empowerment through the game of basketball. He founded The Development Academy (TDA) in obedience to a God-given vision to use the game to reach area youth. Being obedient has led to Coach Charles training some of the top players in the state and in the nation, including several collegiate and overseas professional basketball players. Bigger than basketball, TDA has been able to encounter and impact hundreds, possibly thousands of youths throughout its tenure. Coach Lewis has over 8 years of
experience as a basketball development specialist, and 3 years as a varsity assistant coach. He also played an instrumental role in helping to shape the vision of THE ARK as a hub for basketball-related programming.


  • Wingfield High School

coach's quote:

“I’ve been dreaming about it [a place like The ARK since 2012. Just growing up here…and they believed in the vision; they believed in what we saw and gave us this opportunity.”

Denzel jones

Basketball Development Specialist, The Ark

Coach Denzel Jones is a proud Jackson native. Denzel grew up in and has been in South Jackson for 23 years. He is a graduate of the Jackson Public School District and THEE Jackson State University. Majoring in Physical Education and Recreation, Coach Jones put his degree to work in the areas of his passion: basketball and youth development. As a basketball development specialist, Denzel has worked with The Development Academy (TDA) since 2017 having a tremendous impact on the youth trained. He plays an integral role in the development of community league opportunities for youth and adults here at The ARK. He also formerly served on the coaching staff at Hillcrest Christian in South Jackson.


  • Wingfield High School

  • Jackson State University (B.S. in Education)

coach's quote:

“I am excited to be a part of The ARK family!”

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Jordan danberry

Basketball Development Specialist, The ARK

Coach Jordan Danberry, a native of Conway, Arkansas, is a versatile and driven finance professional with a strong background in leadership, analysis, and operations management. Beyond her financial acumen, Danberry is a standout athlete known for her remarkable achievements in women's basketball. She was a member of the most successful team in the history of Mississippi State University women’s basketball. Her collegiate career accolades include: 2020 Second Team All-SEC (Coaches), 2020 SEC All-Defensive Team (Coaches), 2020 Naismith Trophy Player of the Year Midseason Team, 2020 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Semifinalist, 2020 SEC Community Service Team, 2019 Greater Victoria Invitational All- Tournament Team, 2017-18 Elite 90 Award, and SEC Academic Honor Roll (2017-18). Danberry uses her success and experiences to inform her passion to help others relative to the game of basketball and life. Jordan's dedication extends to sports management, where she excels as a basketball development specialist, mentoring and guiding athletes to balance their personal, educational, and sports commitments. Coach Danberry also serves an instrumental role in helping to develop both community and educational programming for youth at The ARK. She has also served as a program director. Most recently, Jordan was signed to Club Athena in Reykjavic, Iceland where she will be competing professionally for the next year. She will also have coaching responsibilities while in Iceland.


  • Conway High School (Arkansas)

  • Mississippi State University (M.B.A.) 

  • Mississippi State University (B.B.A. – Economics)

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