Today, I am going to tell you about two Local Heroes who are constantly inspiring me with the work they are doing to change the lives of children in rural Mississippi.
Organization: Spring Initiative
Location: Clarksdale, MS
Context: According to the national testing group ACT Inc., students who have fallen far behind in primary school have less than a 1 in 3 chance of being ready for college or a career by the end of high school. Thanks to GO Campaign support, 60 students in the Spring Initiative program are experiencing a different reality; every day they are learning that there are no limits to their potential.
Background: GO Local Heroes Anja Thiessen and Bianca Zaharescu came to Clarksdale as high school students hoping to volunteer with children in need. Deeply impacted by their experience and the relationships they created with the children they served, Anja and Bianca independently decided to relocate to Clarksdale and to dedicate their lives to helping their children succeed. Upon arrival, they combined forces to launch Spring Initiative in 2011.
Current Status: In December 2015, GO Campaign approved a grant for $28,737 to ensure that the 60 children in their after-school tutoring program and the 290 children in the Baby University program received the support needed to thrive.
Timothy, 19, began life a healthy, curious child who was excited to learn. When Timothy entered pre-school, he stopped communicating verbally. No one could identify the reason for this drastic change, and he was placed in a special education classroom. Bullied by his peers and failing most of his classes, Timothy believed school was torture and had little hope for life. Once he started to attend Spring Initiative, everything changed. Timothy learned to open up and trust other people again, he started to develop his communication skills, and began seeing a therapist. On May 20, 2016, Timothy graduated high school and will soon be realizing his dream of going to college! Check out this video of Timothy sharing his story.