News & Events

Summer Fun

June 28th, 2010

Just posting some pictures taken in the past few hours on this warm Monday afternoon! We have  more than 75 children here at Shoestring enjoying arts, summer reading and reinforcement of the lessons they learned this past school year.  And children across the Lanier feeder pattern are enjoying similar activities thanks to the supporters of Shoestring. This is all in an effort to be sure that they “stretch” their minds this summer and are ready to roll when school begins in August.  For more pictures, visit

21st Century Community Learning Center Grant

June 24th, 2010

We are pleased to report Operation Shoestring is applying for a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. This grant is administered by the Mississippi Department of Education. If Operation Shoestring is selected to receive this grant, we will work to help students navigate the bridges from middle to high school and to the work force, post-secondary education and/or the Armed Forces. We will accomplish this by strategically providing a needs-specific array of academic and social dropout prevention. The target population of the grant program will be 9th-12th grade students at Lanier High School. Once the grant application is complete, we will post it for the community to view. Wish us luck!

Pinelake Visits Shoestring

June 22nd, 2010

Shoestring is grateful to 10 members of the Madison campus of Pinelake church who provided breakfast to our children recently. As you’ll see in the pictures, Pinelake also conducted a fun-filled and very interactive devotional. This was the second of four visits Pinelake will make this summer. EVERY WEEKDAY through mid-July, a different family or organization brings breakfast and leads a morning devotional.

Sharp Dressed Men

June 22nd, 2010

We are very thankful to Charlie Mozingo, owner of Latham-Thomas, for donating some very fine apparel to the young men in our Youth Employment Program (YEP). These rising seniors are gaining real world work experience this summer at law firms, car dealerships, hospitals and other organizations thanks to the generous supporters of Operation Shoestring. We’ll post more information about this program soon. Thank you, Latham-Thomas!

Music in Motion

June 22nd, 2010

You might remember from a recent email that Operation Shoestring was able to expand its reach this summer. To help students in our service area prepare for the upcoming school year, we established “summer transition camps.” These camps prepare elementary students for the upcoming school year at middle school and middle schoolers for high school. As I’ve reported to you before, summers are crucial for any child’s development. Studies show that without positive stimulation and challenges over the summer students can actually lose learning from the previous year. We can’t let that happen! Each weekday, our rising middle and high school students receive instruction in math, critical thinking, reading, the arts and music.

Speaking of music, we are very excited that our rising middle schoolers, who are enjoying camp at nearby Galloway Elementary, are able to participate – at no fee – in music lessons. Thanks to Bette Shornick and Music in Motion – in partnership with Jackson State’s Music Department – more than 30 children receive music instruction twice per week and they practice every day. Like visual arts, we know that music is important to a child’s development, confidence and academic performance. These are pictures taken just today.

Thank you for your interest in Operation Shoestring and the work we’re doing here on Bailey Avenue, throughout the Lanier High School feeder pattern, and throughout our the entire Metro-Jackson community. Come see us.

Art Makes Us Smart!

June 22nd, 2010

Casey Elementary, a school in the JPS district, has a great motto: Where the Arts Make Us Smart. At Operation Shoestring, we know this to be true! Thanks to a partnership with the Mississippi Museum of Art, we are able to provide professional arts instruction to our children twice per week each school week and throughout the summer.

Always among the highest expression of any culture, the arts teach us much about every historical period through its literature, visual arts, music, dance, and drama. Today it is recognized that to be truly well-educated one must not only learn to appreciate the arts, but must have rich opportunities to actively participate in creative work. The arts are languages that most people speak, cutting through individual differences in culture, educational background, and ability. They can bring every subject to life and turn abstractions into concrete reality. Learning through the arts often results in greater academic achievement and higher test scores.

These pictures show the talents our children possess and the care they put into their work. We are so proud of them – and so grateful that people like you have made it possible for us to care for these children and work with their parents to build well-rounded, curious and successful young people.

Thank you to the Junior League of Jackson

May 27th, 2010

On May 21, the Junior League of Jackson presented Operation Shoestring a check for $3,000 to support our summer programs. From left to right are Crisler Boone, 2009-10 JLJ President; Kim Luckett, Operation Shoestring Project KIDS Coordinator; Robert Langford, Operation Shoestring Executive Director; and Valerie Linn, 2009-10 JLJ President elect. We are so grateful for this generous support!

Thank you, BancorpSouth!

May 24th, 2010

Shoestring’s Board President Evelyn Edwards (center) of Bancorp South presents a check for $10,000 to Operation Shoestring in support of our work on behalf of this neighborhood’s children and families. In addition to our grateful children, receiving the check were Kim Luckett (far left), our Project KIDS coordinator, and Robert Langford (far right), our executive director.

Amir Gwirtzman Performs

May 24th, 2010

Shoestring was pleased to host Israeli multi-instrumentalist Amir Gwirtzman on Wednesday. He has performed worldwide as a solo jazz musician and a member of the acclaimed Israeli world music band Esta.
Amir is a master of saxophone, clarinet, flute, bagpipes and a woodwind section full of African, Asian, European and Middle Eastern instruments. Over an hour, he played more than 40 instruments, and the children had a ball!

Summer Learning Loss

May 24th, 2010

For some children, summer vacation means camp, family trips, visits to museums, parks and libraries and a variety of enriching activities. But other children find that when schools close for the summer, healthy meals, medical care and fun and engaging activities are out of reach, as are activities that strengthen academic achievement and provide opportunities to explore new interests. At Operation Shoestring, we are providing those summer activities. The phenomenon of summer undoing school-year learning has come to be known as “summer learning loss.” The Afterschool Alliance notes that this was first commented on in 1906 followed some decades later by the 1978 book Summer Learning and the Effects of Schooling, by Barbara Heyns, which was based on her study of Atlanta students. More recently, a number of researchers have found that nearly all the differences in achievement between poor and middleclass children can be attributed to changes in learning that take place over the summer. This finding is particularly surprising—and important—given that the vast majority of public and philanthropic resources are dedicated to school-year education, and that relatively scant resources are earmarked for summer programs.Quality summer experiences give children access and exposure to the opportunities and relationships within their communities that promote learning and development. In fact, summer programs have the potential to close the test-score gaps that plague Mississippi. At Operation Shoestring this summer, we will provide fun and academic enriching camps here on Bailey Avenue and at several schools in the Lanier feeder pattern. We know that these efforts will help the students we serve close the gap between where they are and where they need to be.