Operation Shoestring's service delivery approach is facilitated through five (5) broad and interrelated program areas focused on Children and Youth Development (and their families) : (1) Project KIDS after-school and summer program; (2) Child Fund International (formerly Christian Children's Fund); (3) America's Promise Aliiance/Promise Zone Coalition (an expansion of StampOut DropOut School Dropout Prevention Program); (4) 21st Century Bridge Resource Learning Center at Lanier HS; and (5) Youth Safe Haven Police Ministation Mentoring Program (YSH)
We all rise together. This message is at the core of Operation Shoestring’s mission and programs, and you’ll find it reflected soon in the design of our letters, website and signs around town.
What does it mean? Quite simply, when the children of central Jackson are safe, nurtured and empowered to take advantage of a bright future, all of Jackson rises. When the families in Shoestring’s focus area are strong and thriving, all of Jackson rises. Our tagline – By Teaching Children and Inspiring Families, Operation Shoestring Ensures We All Rise Together – affirms our belief that every child in Jackson should have the same access to a promising future, and that all the families of our city should have the same opportunity and means to improve and succeed.
Operation Shoestring programs include:
¦After-school and summer programs for children
¦School dropout prevention services
¦Family communication and parenting classes
¦Art, music, and dance programs
¦Athletic summer camps
Through the leadership of certified and passionate teachers, Operation Shoestring provides tutoring, literacy development, and cultural arts instruction. Led by certified teachers, it offers neighborhood children a safe harbor after school and during the summer, while helping parents to stay at work with the assurance that their children are receiving quality supervision and care.
In the past year, Operation Shoestring was able to:
¦Provide workshops for 450 families (representing 910 children) that included topics as wide-ranging as preventing lead poisoning of infants to financial planning and interviewing skills for adults
¦Significantly expand the number of Project KIDS elementary students (from 75 to 125) we serve every day afterschool with arts instruction, academic enrichment and character development
¦Expand our Youth Employment Program for students at Lanier High School
¦Increase the number of children (from 75 to 350) who enjoy our summer programming – including horseback riding, cheerleading, dance, academic boosters, and much more
¦Roll out a new summer program that brings rising 6th and 7th graders to Galloway Elementary to prepare these children for the changes and the rigors of middle school. We know that middle school is a “make or break” time in terms of a student’s prospects of making their way to high school graduation
¦Introduce a summer program to train and inspire rising 9th graders entering Lanier High School. Research tells us that the typical Mississippi drop out is an African American male who is seventeen-years-old and in his second attempt at 9th grade. Our aim is to keep such kids in school
¦Develop a functioning coalition of service providers addressing health, education, housing, safety and other related issues for the families we’re serving in the Lanier High School feeder pattern (this is part of the programming initially funded by the America’s Promise Alliance and the United Way)