This week we had some visitors in the building all the way from Aspen, Colorado! The Aspen students came ready to get down and dirty with the Freedom Fellows in our Freedom Garden, and after all their hard work, we all came together to enjoy some pizza and to get to know each other a bit. We are always looking for opportunities where our students can learn from others and teach others about themselves, so we are glad to have had the Aspen group stop by! Check out some of the pics from their visit below!
This past week, the SCFP spent four days at Ole Miss for our last trip of the summer. Students got a chance to get a taste of what college courses are like, we visited with different centers for academic support on campus, heard the perspectives of students from diverse backgrounds including student-athletes, and had a lot of time for team bonding and fun! What a perfect way to cap off a fantastic summer of growth and great memories here at the SCFP!! Some pics from our Ole Miss trip are below...See y'all in September!!!!
This summer, some of our high school students are getting the chance to get an actual feel for what college is like by participating in some summer enrichment programs. We have students participating in programs at Phillips Academy (Andover, MA), Yale (New Haven, CT) and Ole Miss (Oxford, MS). We are so excited for Freedom Fellows to have the opportunity to experience the rigor of college-level courses, living with roommates, and all the other facets of college life that one can only learn through experience. Below is a screenshot of an Instagram post from Phillips featuring one of our Freedom Fellows, and a pic of Kate and I visiting our students at Ole Miss!!
We have finished our academic portion of the summer, and we are now in the middle of our camping trips! For our first trip of the summer, we took our second year Freedom Fellows to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and to visit Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. Our students enjoyed engaging with the history of the Civil Rights Movement and having some fun bonding over s'mores and spooky stories/splashing down in the lake!! Check out some of our pics from the trip below!!!
This week we had some very special visitors in our building! A group of 2016 TFA corps members stopped by to get a tour, and listened to some of our Freedom Fellows talk about the work we do here and share some of their experiences. We value our partnership with Teach for America, so it was a pleasure to have them! Best of luck to y'all as you begin your teaching journeys, and we look forwarding to working with y'all in the future to continue to serve the students of the Delta!!
Each spring a small group of Freedom Fellows strap on their packs and head into the backcountry to test their mettle on the hardcore camping trip. This year we had eight brave students who signed up for the chance to climb Bote Mountain and spend two nights camping in the woods! They learned about leaving no trace and how to avoid any unwanted interactions with bears! We climbed, we meditated on the banks of a lovely river, we froze our fingers raw, and we ate great Tennessee BBQ! It was an epic trip!
As we pack our bags to head back to Mississippi tomorrow, we wanted to share a few photos of our Spring Break Trip! Highlights include seeing Mary Poppins at the Hobby Center in Houston, seeing the Rockets play, learning about civil rights at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, visiting many colleges and universities, meeting Dr. Flowers and learning about C-STEM, and checking out NASA! Freedom Fellows earned this trip by completing their Novel Studies assignments and being awesome LEADers! Our drama students performed our play three times and received much applause and praise, while also creating amazing opportunities for some tough conversations about race! Very proud of all the students on this trip for their hard work and their adventurous attitudes!
The SCFP Drama Troupe is taking ECHOES on the road! Here's our performance schedule in Texas!
Alley Theater in Houston, TX: Monday, March 14th 2 PM
St. Johns United Methodist Church, Austin, TX: Tuesday, March 15th 6:30 PM
Arapaho United Methodist Church, Dallas, TX: Thursday, March 17th 7:00 PM
Our Freedom Fellows did an awesome job this past Saturday during opening night of our play Echoes at the BB King Museum! Many thanks to the museum for hosting us and for the great audience we had supporting our actors!
Next up: we are performing this coming Saturday at the Fannie Lou Hamer Multipurpose Building @ 710 Byron St. in Ruleville, MS. Curtain call at 1 pm! Come out to celebrate Black History Month and our tremendous Freedom Fellows!
Hey Joe's in Cleveland, MS is a great place to get a burger....especially when a portion of your purchase goes to help the Freedom Project! A big thanks to Justin Huerta and the gang at Hey Joe's for picking the SCFP for the February Charity of the Month! You are a great community partner and we are lucky to have you on our team!
GO GET YOUR BURGER!
A couple times a year we host visiting student groups from across the country. This is always an exciting time for Freedom Fellows! They jump at the opportunity to share about their lives, and learn about others. Usually the visit lasts only a couple of hours, but the exchange of knowledge and friendship is priceless. This past week we hosted students from Baltimore and Providence.
We learned about racial tensions in Baltimore communities and shared about the challenges we have at our schools in Sunflower County. We talked about student activism and how young people can make their schools and communities better.
We were very proud of our Freedom Fellows for how they welcomed our guests and how they contributed to the conversation. So many students shared freely about themselves, their lives, and their hopes for the future! #proudSCFPstaff
To celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Freedom Fellows participated in a financial literacy program presented by Mr. Clifton Williams of Guarantee Bank. We learned how to prepare for college through sound planning and saving! Thanks to Americorps VISTA volunteer Mr. Johnson for bringing Mr. Williams to the LEAD Center.
Freedom Fellows also braved the cold to harvest kale and cabbage and prepare a lunch feast! We discussed MLK's legacy and watched his final Mountaintop speech. Our students are continuing in MLK's work by fighting for their education and being activists in their school and community! #MLKDay
The SCFP celebrates the graduation of two very special alumni this week! Kenyon King, a Millennium Scholar, graduated from American University and Lukendric Washington graduated with a L.L.M in tax Law from the University of Miami!
It is amazing to watch these Freedom Fellows follow their dreams and excel! Lukendric and Kenyon, you inspire us and motivate young Freedom Fellows to work hard in school and be great LEADers.
We wish every Freedom Fellow, Freedom Family, and SCFP friend a warm holiday and a very happy New Year! Here's to a year of reading, learning, leadership, and adventures at the Freedom Project!
On Monday night we held our first ever SCFP Town Hall Meeting to discuss rules and policies at the LEAD Center and on our yearly trips. We wanted to hear student concerns and be able to share our reasoning behind the policies we do have. Our student council moderated the event and made sure we followed decorum!
The Freedom Fellows never fail to impress! We heard very well thought out arguments for and against some policies and engaged in mature and informative debates.
Town Hall meetings will become part of the SCFP regular programming in the future so that we can continue to be a student-driven organization!
Today is Giving Tuesday! Please consider supporting the impactful work happening at the Sunflower County Freedom Project!
Why give? Here are 3 reasons:
- You love reading and want to inspire young readers in the Delta with new books in the SCFP library!
- You had a tremendous collegiate experience and you want to be sure that all students have access to higher education!
- Art is life! You know that giving students the opportunity to learn about art will help improve their creativity and self-expression!
If these reasons ring true to you, please give to the Freedom Project by clinking the donate button above! Help the SCFP continue working with tremendous and deserving students in the Mississippi Delta!
Recap of Day 3 and 4: On the third day of our trip we spent a beautiful morning in Nashville, TN exploring the campuses of Fisk and Vanderbilt University. At Fisk we learned about the university's rich history and our tour guide, Acaylia even serenaded us with the Fisk alma mater. At Vanderbilt we were astounded by the campus' beauty and impressed by the wide range of opportunities students have on campus. Our tour guide, Mr. Ewbank, did an awesome job and even snuck us into one of his classrooms at the business school! After our tours we loaded into the vans and headed north for the last time into Kentucky! The night ended with the Mockingjay and a little popcorn!
On our last day we toured and learned about Berea College. Berea is a unique school due to its labor program which provides students the opportunity to work for tuition, instead of paying it! Berea is known for its tough academics, beautiful campus, and awesome student work experience! All of it is true! While on campus, Ms. Hooper and Mr. Turner interviewed with admission counselors as part of the application process! (We have our fingers crossed for them to be admitted into Berea!) After our campus activities we loaded the vans one last time and headed back to the Delta!
The trip was long and tiring but we saw four awesome colleges, contributed to a community clean-up, and had a lot of great bonding time! We are grateful for these opportunities and for being part of the Freedom Project!
Update on Day 1 and 2: On Saturday we started our Thanksgiving trip with a day of service at the Co-op of New West Jackson! We raked, shoveled, cleaned, and helped create a safe sidewalk for students in the neighborhood. We also learned about how the Co-op is organizing a creative community model to empower its members!
Day two took us from Mississippi to Tennessee! We stopped in Columbus to see the Mississippi University for Women and were wowed by what the school has to offer. A big shout out to Sarah Staten and her classmates for the awesome tour! Next we hopped in the vans and headed north for a great BBQ dinner at the Lead Southeast Middle School. We were greeted by former TFA teachers from the Delta including Ms. Pennigar and Ms. Mac! A tour of the school taught us about their Ethos, which are very similar to our LEAD principles, and include the importance of discipline and love!
We can't wait for Day three- Fisk and Vanderbilt here we come! Stay tuned for more updates from the Freedom Fellows!
Every Thanksgiving break we pile into our vans and head out onto the open roads of the south in search of great college campuses! This year the Freedom Fellows will visit four schools, The W, Fisk, Vanderbilt, and Berea College. We are traveling in three states, crossing the time zone, and eating too many PB & J sandwiches all because we know how important it is to see colleges and universities! We are on a mission to find the campus that feels like "home" to our Freedom Fellows!
We depart on Saturday and we'll keep you updated from the road with lots of college action shots!