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Our Mission


We are creating a corps of academically capable, socially conscious and mentally disciplined leaders in the Mississippi Delta

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Our Mission


We are creating a corps of academically capable, socially conscious and mentally disciplined leaders in the Mississippi Delta

Our Vision

We envision the day when young people growing up in Sunflower County, Mississippi, have access to the same educational opportunities as children anywhere in America.

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Our Values

Commitment to LEADership
At the Sunflower County Freedom Project, we believe that education is the seed of freedom. Our students, staff and interns all speak in the language of LEAD: Love, Education, Action and Discipline. Without a challenging, achievement-oriented education, children in the Mississippi Delta will be as powerless in the future as were illiterate sharecroppers in the twentieth century. 

 

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Our History


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Our History


The Freedom Project is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to educational excellence and leadership development in Sunflower County, Mississippi. We use the history and spirit of the 1960's freedom struggle to motivate young people to become capable and compassionate leaders in their communities.

The Freedom Project was founded by Chris Myers Asch, Shawn Raymond, and Gregg Costa in 1998. All three had served as Teach for America/Americorps teachers in Sunflower County and were thus acutely aware of the need for an educational program that would challenge and engage young people in the area.

Initially a summer program held at Mississippi Delta Community College, the Freedom Project grew into a year-round fellowship with a residential summer program at the University of Mississippi. In 2002, we purchased two abandoned buildings in Sunflower, Mississippi, and built the LEAD Center, a permanent home for all our programs.

Now in its 17th year, the Freedom Project offers middle and high school students intensive academic enrichment, mentoring, educational travel, physical education, drama performances, and art classes. Six consecutive classes of Freedom Fellows have graduated from Sunflower County high schools and enrolled in colleges around the country. 

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Our Staff


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Our Staff


KATE GLUCKMAN

Executive Director

Ms. Gluckman hails from northern Vermont and attended Tufts University, receiving both her bachelors of science and her masters of education. Before moving to the Delta, Ms. Gluckman coached basketball and taught physical education at Grinnell College in Iowa for five years. She joined the Freedom Project in 2014 as a program director and became executive director in 2016. She loves helping Freedom Fellows find the perfect college!

Ki Harris

Director of Operations

Mr. Harris grew up in Atlanta, GA. He graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa with a Bachelor's in Psychology. For the past two years Mr. Harris has taught  7th grade Language Arts in Greenwood, MS as a TFA teacher. He is extremely excited to build close relationships with all the Freedom Fellows and to help mold them into brilliant young leaders who are ready to make an impact in the world around them.

Andrew Van Horn

Director of Literacy Programming

Mr. Van Horn is originally from Richmond, Virginia and graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor's in english and political science. After graduating, he taught english and coached track in Terry, Mississippi for two years as part of the TFA program. He is excited for novel studies, helping students get ready for college, and camping!

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Joseph Duffy

Americorps VISTA Service Member

Mr. Duffy grew up in the Gulf Coast town of Gautier, Mississippi and graduated from the University of Mississippi with a B.A. in public policy leadership. He has previously served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the University of Mississippi's School of Education, an intern for the U.S. Department of Education, and a teaching assistant at the SCFP during Freedom Summer '13. Mr. Duffy is thrilled to be returning to serve as a VISTA at the SCFP and is looking forward to working with Freedom Fellows everyday at the LEAD Center. 

 

 

Ashley WaTTS

Food Corps Service Member

Ms. Ashley Watts is a Los Angeles native, who is a recent graduate from Mississippi Valley State University. Her focus for Environmental Health and Biology granted opportunities to travel  to Costa Rica & Kazakhstan for soil & water contamination research. Shortly after graduation Ms. Watts was motivated enough to continue her education at a graduate level at Grand Canyon University to study Public Administration with an emphasis in Governmental Policy and Entrepreneurship.  On her spare time she teaches yoga, conducts sustainability outreach, and does research dealing with horticulture. Ashley is excited to increase sustainability awareness amongst the Freedom Fellows through hands on gardening techniques!

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Board of Directors


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Board of Directors


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Chris Myers Asch

Co-Founder

A native of Washington, D.C., Chris Myers Asch came to Sunflower with Teach For America in 1994. After four years in the classroom (including a year in South Korea), he helped launch the Freedom Project in 1998 and ran the program until 2006. He has done many things since – earned a doctorate in history, worked to build the U.S. Public Service Academy, wrote a book, taught at a university – but his best job may always be the years he spent as “Mr. Myers,” the head of the SCFP. He and his wife, Erica, have three children. 


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Shawn Raymond

Co-Founder

Shawn taught a variety of subjects at Ruleville Central High School for two years as part of the Teach for America and Americorps programs.  While in law school, he teamed up with his former TFA roommates, Gregg and Chris, to create the Freedom Project.  He’s a partner at Susman Godfrey L.L.P. in Houston, Texas – a law firm that successfully recruited him by making what at the time was the largest single donation the Freedom Project had ever received.  Shawn enjoys taking his three little boys for visits to Sunflower to see the incredible things happening at the Freedom Project.


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Gregg Costa

Co-Founder

Gregg taught 3rd and 4th grade for two years at East Sunflower Elementary as part of Teach for America.  Gregg and Freedom Project Co-Founder Chris Myers were the first Teach for America teachers ever placed in the town of Sunflower.  After his time in Sunflower, Gregg returned to his home state of Texas to attend law school and practice law.  Gregg is now a federal judge in Texas, where he relies on the classroom management techniques he learned in the Delta to help control a group that is far more unruly than his former students--lawyers. 


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Nick Allen

Executive Director 2011-2013

Nick taught fourth grade math in Clarksdale, Mississippi for two years as part of the Teach for America program.  Inspired by the mission and spirit of the organization, Nick joined the Freedom Project in 2011.  His favorite memories of his time in Sunflower include camping trips, logic problems, study sessions, drama performances, shout outs, capture the flag, and football on the slab.  Nick lives in New York where he continues to be involved in mentoring, strategy, and fundraising for the SCFP. 


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Chris Perkins

Former Program Director/Freedom Fellow

Out-of-school-time programming has been a part of Chris Perkins' success since the 7th grade when he joined the Sunflower County Freedom Project. Chris often says that for him “Freedom Project staff took a shy D student who had never really considered being anything more and turned him into an outspoken A student who could seriously consider college.”  After graduating from the Freedom Project, Chris moved to Kentucky to attend Berea College and graduated with a degree in African and African American Studies.  After college, Chris returned to Mississippi to work as the Program Director of the Freedom Project. Since then, Chris has moved to Washington DC and has served as Higher Achievement's Lead Manager of Instruction, where he assisted in recruiting and managing more than 70 volunteers, as well as transforming the Ward 7 Center into the organization's first single school site. Currently Chris is Higher Achievement’s Manager of Volunteer Recruitment and Development where he recruits and trains more than 400 volunteers and manages corporate partnerships.


Jamie Jacks

Local Board Member

Jamie is a native New Orleanian, but has called the Delta home for almost two decades. Jamie practices law in Cleveland, Mississippi where she has also devoted her time to helping her community through organizations like the Delta Arts Alliance, the Literacy Council and the Junior Auxiliary. Jamie and her husband Will have also actively mentored children through a JA/Cleveland School District mentoring program. Jamie is thrilled to be a part of the work the Sunflower County Freedom Project is doing in Sunflower and beyond.


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VAISH SHASTRY

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 2013-2016

Vaish taught in Greenwood, Mississippi for two years with Teach For America and worked in data analytics for KIPP New Jersey. She joined the Freedom Project in 2013 and served as director for three years. Her favorite parts of the job include the camping trips (minus the mosquitos), singing in the van, yoga club, and visiting colleges with Freedom Fellows. Vaish is currently attending the University of Michigan where she is pursuing both an MBA and a tolerance for cold weather.

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Contact Us


Sunflower County Freedom Project
120 Delta Avenue
Sunflower, MS 38778
Tel. 662.569.2441

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Contact Us


Sunflower County Freedom Project
120 Delta Avenue
Sunflower, MS 38778
Tel. 662.569.2441

 

Directions

From the South:
From highway 49W, enter the Town of Sunflower on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Follow the road until you reach the first stop sign. At the stop, make a Left through town. At the first stop, make a right. The LEAD Center is the large white building on the right.

From the North: 
From highway 49W, enter the Town of Sunflower on Quiver Road. Follow Quiver until you reach the first stop sign. Continue through the stop. At the next stop sign, make a right. The LEAD Center is the large white building on the right.

Email

Sunflower Office // scfreedomproject@gmail.com
Kate Gluckman, Executive Director // gluckmankate@gmail.com
Ki Harris, Dir. of Operations // harriski60@gmail.com
Andrew Van Horn, Dir. of Literacy // andvanhorn1@gmail.com

OFFICE HOURS

Monday to Thursday // 1:00pm – 7:30pm
Saturday // 9:00am – 12:00pm

Our Sister Project

The Meridian Freedom Project
themeridianfreedomproject.com