News & Events

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.

Spring Fling is a fine time!

April 21st, 2010


More than 250 people from across Jackson joined us this past Friday night for our annual Spring Fling. In addition to having a great time, our guests enabled Shoestring to raise more than $30,000 for the children and families we serve! Can’t wait to see everyone next year. To see pictures from the evening, visit 

Many thanks to our generous hosts, corporate donors and our hard-working organizing committee, led by Mary Largent Purvis. Working together, we will ensure that all of Jackson rises!

Operation Spring Fling

March 18th, 2010

On Friday, April 16, 2010, Operation Shoestring will host “Spring Fling: A Benefit for Operation Shoestring.”   We’re thrilled to showcase two outstanding bands:

Wiley and The Checkmates and Horse Trailer

This event will not only celebrate Shoestring’s success in recent years, but also raise funds to expand its reach to even more children and families. The party will be held at the beautiful Mississippi Museum of Art and – as in years past – we will have some of the best music and the best party atmosphere you’ll find in the Southeast. Throw on your favorite pair of jeans and join us.

Tickets are $25 and available now at and at Be-Bop records.

About the Bands

Wiley and the Checkmates

Hailing from Oxford, Mississippi, the cultural center of the South, Wiley and the Checkmates have a lot to live up to. The hill country blues of Fred McDowell, Junior Kimbrough, and R.L. Burnside… The literary landmarks of William Faulkner, Larry Brown, and John Grisham…

Herbert Wiley formed the Checkmates in 1960 and the group began performing on the chitlin’ circuit as a marquee act and playing behind soul legends like Otis Clay, Percy Sledge, and Syl Johnson. After a dozen years with the Checkmates, Wiley quit music to run the family business and raise a family. In 2002, Wiley was inspired to reform the Checkmates after watching an Oxford punk band rehearse in a local storefront. Wiley brought together local gospel, jazz, and rock musicians and fashioned a modern take on the sound of the original Checkmates.

To read more about the band and to hear samples of their music, visit

To read a recent Jackson Free Press review of Horse Trailer, click here:

Our Generous 2010 Operation Spring Fling Hosts

Donna and Jim Barksdale
Amy and Cliff Bates
Sheryl and George Bey
Crisler and Doug Boone
Suzanne and Bill Boone
Betsy Bradley and Robert Langford
Liz and Bill Brister
Debra Brown
Nancy and Roy Campbell
Lillian and Bill Cooley
Lora Cox
Meredith and Jimmy Creekmore
Margaret and Brett Cupples
Janet and Marilyn J. Currier
Inglish and Matt Devoss
Louisa Dixon and Jerry Johnson
Ouida and Wayne Drinkwater
Evelyn and Gary Edwards
Carol and George Evans
Lynn and Bev Evans
Sharon Gray Garrison
Lida Gibson
Dolly and Wesley Goings, III
Bettye and James Graves
Emily and Joseph Johnson
Jona and James Keeton
Ann Hendrick and Jim Kopernak
Donna Ladd and Todd Stauffer
Holly and Alan Lange
Margie and Rick Largent
Jonathan and Davetta Lee
Virgi and Charles Lindsay
Vickie and Stephen Mason
Nora and Vaughan McRae
J. Douglas Minor, Jr
Sally and Dick Molpus
Sara and Robert Morgan
Jean and Lamar Nesbit
Deidra and Edward O’Connor
Susan and Bill Osborne
Janet and Luther Ott
Amanda and Scott Overby
Karen and Raymond Overstreet
Stacey and Wade Overstreet
Anne and Alan Perry
Michelle and David Pharr
Mandy and Cullam Pope
Gayla and John Purvis
Mary and Alex Purvis
Lori Quarles
Carolyn and Chris Ray
Melinda and Steve Ray
Brad Reeves
Missy Rose
Laurel and Josh Schooler
M. Diedrich Shanks and Matt Olson
J. G. Smith
Laurie and Brad Smith
Erica and Stewart Speed
Jerusha and David Stephens
Grace H. Tate
Lisa and Bill Thompson
Dorian Turner
Malinda and Jim Warren
Emily and Trey Waterloo
Megan West and Matt Allen
Jennifer and Rick Yarborough, Jr.
Sarah and Russell Young