Afterschool and summer programming provide a vital service to our communities–through education and outreach they’re able to uplift and empower families and whole neighborhoods starting with the children. One great example of a program to emulate is Operation Shoestring based out of Jackson, MS.
Founded in 1968 during the middle of the Civil Rights era, their founding principles of equity and civil rights continue to inform their work today. They primarily focus on pre-K through 5th grade with programming in the areas of education, health, and economic self-sufficiency in their target neighborhoods uplifting the larger community, to brighten the future for everyone.
Operation Shoestring gets to know each individual family’s needs and works with parents as well. Some examples include providing direct financial support as well as school supplies. They also provide workshops on parenting, education, stress management, health and wellness, basic finance, advocacy and more. By dedicating themselves to the entire family unit, they are able to empower the next generation to create their own success impacting the whole community.
The main afterschool and summer program provided by Operation Shoestring is so aptly named Project Rise with the goal in mind of instilling educational success and personal growth in students pre-K through 5th grade so that we can all rise together.
Project Rise provides engaging, intensive, educational, artistic, and social-emotional development activities. Their certified teachers and volunteers focus on everything from literacy and STEM to arts and culture, gardening, nutrition, and a host of physical fitness activities.
Because Operation Shoestring was able to collect data about their successes, they learned that participants in Project Rise outperformed their school peers who were not enrolled in the program both academically and behaviorally. Not only that, but the students and parents themselves indicated that a strong positive perception of the program itself. No wonder with all the great work that they’re doing here.
There’s a theme here with Operation Shoestring, and their excellence in out of school programming couldn’t be understated. They work diligently to ensure that students in Central Jackson are receiving educational and social-emotional support as well as uplifting the whole family. No doubt that their efforts will build a better community and empower us all to rise together.