News & Events


September 8th, 2009

Over 40 years ago, the original Operation Shoestring site was the basement of Wells Church. And it’s time once again for the Bailey Avenue neighbors’ annual celebration, WellsFest. It will be held Saturday, September 26th, at Jamie Fowler Boyll Park, next to Smith-Wills Stadium on Lakeland Drive. All of this year’s proceeds will go to Operation Shoestring. The festival features a 5K run and walk and a one-mile fun run, as well as live music, food booths, children’s activities, a pet parade, arts and crafts booths, a plant sale, and a silent auction for goods and services. Admission is free.

In addition to the traditional Saturday fun, this year includes WellsFest Art Night on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at the Mississippi Crafts Center on Rice Road in Ridgeland. This event also is free. The preview party begins at 6 p.m., and the live art auction gets under way at 7:30 p.m.

Great thanks goes to Wells not only for their consideration of this event, but also decades of community partnership!

For more information, click here.


September 8th, 2009

As part of the KPMG Interns for Literacy program, Jackson-natives Jessie Austin and Elizabeth Butler recently dropped by Shoestring’s Ellen Harris Center. In tow, they had a bountiful amount of books for the eager children in our Project KIDS afterschool program. Thanks once again to KPMG’s Jackson office for pointing their summer interns Shoestring’s way.


September 8th, 2009

In Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson explains how a failed mission to the peak of the K2 led him to open schools in Pakistan’s and Afghanistan’s remote mountain villages. With St. Andrew’s students having recently read the book, Head of Middle School Ruthie Hollis invited Shoestring Executive Director Robert Langford to speak at an assembly. He joined Mayor Johnson’s Chief of Staff Sean Perkins, and 24-year-old Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman, to discuss how they arrived at serving their communities.

From L-R: Sean Perkins, Parker Wiseman, Robert Langford


August 4th, 2009

(Photo by Chris Todd)

This May, Operation Shoestring launched its inaugural Youth Employment Program (YEP). Shoestring teamed up with local businesses and organizations to train and place deserving Lanier High School students in paid summer internships. One of the community partners, The Clarion-Ledger, marked the conclusion of the summer with an article in Friday’s edition, plus pieces by the their two YEP interns in Sunday’s “Perspective” section. Click the links below to read all three.

“Lanier Progran Focus on Quality” by Blair Goldstein

‘C-L’ Interns Rewrite Future

“Smallest Detail a Big Deal” by Kallisia Veal

“Lanier Senior Eyes Computer Science Degree” by Caleb M. Robsinson


August 4th, 2009

For the fifth straight year, St. Andrew’s High School students raised money and conducted supplemental camps alongside Shoestring’s Project KIDS Summer Camp. The week-long activities offered to different age groups, included some old favorites, as well as new-comers SoccerShoes and CheerStrings. Special thanks go the SA students, Ellen Gabardi, Tracy Woods and Jamie Martin for their continued effort, consideration, and support.

To see just how big of a ball the children had all summer, click the links below.

SoccerShoes (June 2 – June 5)

RacquetStrings (June 8 – 12)

HoopStrings (June 15 – 19)

CheerStrings (June 22 – 26)

ArtStrings (June 22 – 26)

HorseShoes (July 6 – 10)


July 27th, 2009


A Conversation About Community
A Panel Discussion With:
Jim Barksdale
Founder, Barksdale Reading Institute
Oleta Fitzgerald
Director, Children’s Defense Fund’s Southern Regional Office
Luther Ott
Chairman, Community Foundation of Greater Jackson
Aaron Shirley
Chairman, Jackson Medical Mall Foundation
Thursday, September 17, 2009 6:30 – 9:00
Jackson Convention Complex
105 E. Pascagoula Street
Jackson, MS
$25,000 Community: VIP Reception Sponsor; Link to your website from ours; Logo on all publicity; Logo on signage at event; Recognition during event and preceding VIP Reception; 10 tickets to VIP Reception; Reserved Table for 10

$15,000 Metro: Link to your website from ours; Logo on all publicity; Logo on signage at event; Recognition during event and preceding VIP Reception; 10 tickets to VIP Reception; Reserved Table for 10

$10,000 City-Wide: Logo on all publicity; Logo on signage at event; Recognition during event and preceding VIP Reception; 8 tickets to VIP Reception; Reserved Table for 10

$5,000 Central Jackson: Logo on all publicity; Logo on signage at event; Recognition during event and preceding VIP Reception; 6 tickets to VIP Reception; Reserved Table for 10

$2,500 Mid-City / Georgetown: Logo on signage at event; Recognition during event and preceding VIP Reception; 4 tickets to VIP Reception; Reserved Table for 10

$1,000 Bailey Avenue: Recognition during event and preceding VIP Reception; 2 tickets to VIP Reception; Reserved Table for 10

$500 1700 Block: Logo on signage at event; Table for 10

Individual tickets will be $50

Checks should be made payable to Operation Shoestring, P.O. Box 11223, Jackson MS 39283. Tickets can be reserved by contacting our office via phone (601-353-6336) or email Tickets will be delivered to you. If you have questions or need more info, contact DeMatt Harkins at or 601-353-6336.


July 7th, 2009

Mississippi is one of six states served by Child Fund International – formerly the Christian Children’s Fund. Operation Shoestring is one of four Mississippi affiliates of the organization, along with We Care in Vicksburg, North Delta in Lambert, and the Brickfire Project in Starkville. On June 15 & 16, Shoestring hosted National representatives from the Child Fund, as well as, colleagues from the state office. With the gracious help of the Child Fund, Shoestring is able to assist over 800 children in the area.

(From L-R), Robert Norfleet (Board Member), Patricia Wright (MS Sponsor Relations Specialist), Jaya Sarkar (America’s Regional Director), Julia Campbell (National Office Program Coordinator), Ada Robison (OS Family Development Coordinator), Anne Goddard (President & CEO), Marilyn Grist (Board Member), Elaine Wolverton (MS Area Manager), Charlie Caravati (Board Chairman), Martha Alexander (OS Deputy Director), Robert Langford (OS Executive Director)


July 7th, 2009

Recently a few of the Project KIDS Summer Campers took the time to restock the flower beds in front of the Ellen Harris Center. They joyful gardeners planted Impatiens to give the façade an aesthetic boost.

For more pictures of the springing sprouts, click here.


July 7th, 2009

In continuing with their generosity, St. Dominic Hospital once again sent it’s Care-A-Van to Shoestring’s Ellen Harris Center. The RV arrived chocked full friendly technicians to check the ears, noses, and throats (among other things) of our growing Project KIDS Summer Campers. Thanks again to St. Dominic’s for their longstanding support of Shoestring.

For more tongue depressors, stethoscopes, and captains chairs, click here.


July 7th, 2009
On June 15th, a group of Project KIDS Summer Campers traveled downtown to see the International Museum of Muslim Cultures’ latest exhibit, The Legacy of Timbuktu: The Wonders of the Written Word. The outing proved extra special because they were led through the displays by PK teacher Maryam Washington – whose mother runs the museum. The children learned many interesting things about the city of Timbuktu and it’s country of Mali. The exhibit explains the rediscovery of intentionally hidden pre-colonial manuscripts that chart the region’s intellectual past. In addition to being a renowned center for international gold trade, Timbuktu was also a hotbed of education and the printing industry.

For pictures from this eye-opening exhibit, click here.