Michelle’s Friday Project Update: Spring Initiative

Today, I am going to tell you about two Local Heroes who constantly inspire me by their commitment to doing whatever it takes.

Organization: Spring Initiative
Location: Clarksdale, MS

Context: In one of the poorest school districts in one of the poorest states in the U.S., children are often labeled as “bad”, “dumb” and “underperforming”. These labels are not a true representation of who they are but too often remain with them throughout their academic careers.

Background: GO Local Heroes Anja Thiessen and Bianca Zaharescu came to Clarksdale as high school students to volunteer through Habitat for Humanity projects and other agencies in the city. Deeply impacted by their experience and the relationships they created with the children they served, Anja and Bianca independently made the decision to relocate to Clarksdale and 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 250 children in the Baby University program received the support needed to thrive.

Meet Andrekia

Andrekia reading with GO Local Hero Anja Thiessen

Andrekia reading with GO Local Hero Anja Thiessen

Andrekia is 10 years old and has been in a self-contained special education classroom since she was very young. She joined Spring in March 2014. At the time, she could not spell her name and didn’t recognize numbers or letters. She believed she wasn’t smart. After working with her tutors, Andrekia’s reading level jumped seven levels from an AA to a G! She is now excited to learn and is often caught saying “This is so easy” and “I know I can do this”… And we have no doubt she can.