One focus of Freedom Summer 2019 is community. Throughout the summer, we place emphasis on connections in the Mississippi Delta, the towns and cities Freedom Fellows live in, the black community, and the community within the LEAD Center itself.

The new sign on the highway past Sunflower.

The new sign on the highway past Sunflower.

A vital part of each community is service. We want Freedom Fellows to understand the importance of giving back and the far-reaching effects it can have. For 3 hours each Friday during Freedom Summer, Fellows invest time and hard work in order to better those around them, and in the process, they better themselves.

“Every summer we teach students about the LEAD principles (Love, Education, Action, and Discipline) and it’s crucial for us to put those principles into practice. We strongly believe that education without action is a waste of opportunity. We value our communities here in the Delta and are excited for the opportunity to give back,” SCFP Director Kate Gluckman said.

Fellows have worked in a number of areas so far this summer, and many have given back to the town of Sunflower itself. Some joined Delta Grace to clean, paint, and touch up signs around Sunflower, including the “Welcome to Sunflower” sign that greets people driving down the highway.

“It’s not as easy as it may seem,” Charlize Modley, an eighth grader, said.

Fellows with the old Sunflower sign.

Fellows with the old Sunflower sign.

At the Sunflower City Hall, Fellows painted rooms and cleaned up areas of the building that needed refurbishment.

Other Fellows cleaned up trash and litter in Sunflower and, from simply observing the trash itself, noted the prominence of unhealthy habits suggested by the discarded fast food, soda, and cigarettes.

“We should always keep the city clean and we should go out and start doing some more stuff like that. We always have to be active,” Ja’Mykle Harris, a ninth grader, said.

Mr. Harris picks up trash around Sunflower.

Mr. Harris picks up trash around Sunflower.

One group also traveled to the Drew Public Library and the Indianola Public Library to assist in preparation for an upcoming STEM event by organizing and cutting out decorations.

“I think it was really fun and really nice to help around the community,” seventh grader Marquon McKinney said.

Fellows have experienced two Fridays of community service so far, and we can’t wait to see how their sense of community continues to foster, grow, and develop.

Comment